Escuela para la Vida (School for Life) is a non-profit organization that fights with great success for education of children and young people with low incomes in Montebello and Cali, Colombia. Many residents of Montebello are part of the nearly 6 million internally displaced people in the country and cannot count on the help of the government nor on the protection of the Refugee Convention of the UN.
The first, already completed project is a school in Montebello. In addition there are training workshops for young people on the grounds of the school, where they can learn a profession. Thereby they can find a way out of crime and prostitution for them and their families.
However, protection of the environment is also very important, this is why all the buildings of the school were built with bamboo. Bamboo is a rapidly growing material that absorbs a lot of CO2. Therefore it is a very environmental friendly construction material.
Innovation for sustainable mobility
The use of bamboo is not limited to buildings, vehicles can also be constructed by this innovative material. Thus the Foundations Ecocultura and Escuela para la Vida founded a training workshop for building bamboo bicycles. But that's not all: In the future, bamboo rickshaws powered by solar energy (Bicitaxis) will be an alternative to taxis and they will beautify the urban landscape of Cali.
With no CO2 from A to B
The rickshaw can be operated with pedals and with solar energy. For this, a solar panel is installed on the roof of the rickshaw and energy is stored in an engine under the seat for the two passengers. A solar charging station ensures the daily operation of the Bicitaxis. Through the use of solar energy, the rickshaw driver does not have to torture himself in the high temperatures of Cali, but still the production of CO2 is completely avoided.
The Bicitaxis also transfer the issue of electro mobility and the ecological awareness to the population.
Of course, the rickshaws are made in the training workshop for bamboo bicycles in Montebello. So the project supports the educational process of the students, it generates income in the sense of a social business and it creates jobs for graduates.
Currently a team of specialists is working on the prototype of the rickshaw. The process is also supported by the non-profit organization Coladisos (Corporación Laboratorio de Diseño Sostenible), which is specialized in research and development of sustainable design.
The aim of the team is to present the Bicitaxi in November 2015 in the Solar Decathlon in Cali, an international competition for sustainable energy use. The next step will be the production of 16 Bicitaxis for the city of Cali.
Be part of Bicitaxi
To complete the prototype of the Bicitaxi about Euro 5,200 for material costs is still needed. Help the training workshop and the environment by donating for this project and be part of Bicitaxi!