Getting around the city has been difficult since public transportation was limited last year in response to the current 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. A lot of people have adapted by taking bikes. But not everyone can afford a bicycle, including the heritage conservation officers of Escuela Taller. This is where a project that creates bikes from spare parts saved the day.
Since 2009, the Escuela Taller de Filipinas, Inc. (ETFFI) Foundation has been raising awareness of the importance of preserving Philippine heritage and training unemployed and out-of-school youth in the technical skills necessary for conservation work. Its trainers, students and graduates have been affected by the transport problems caused by the pandemic.
“… Getting around using public transport has been difficult … there is always a chance and potential exposure [to COVID-19] using these types of transportation, ”said Philip Paraan, communications and special projects manager at Escuela Taller. Business world in an email. “Using bicycles is by far the safest [mode of transportation] and through this bike project [we] want to ensure the mobility of our heritage conservation workers, ”he said.
Thus, Escuela Taller has partnered with BeSeekLeta For Every Juan and Bambike for the Pamana Wheels Project to build bicycles for heritage workers.
The bikes will be assembled from spare parts from BeSeekLeta For Every Juan, a non-profit organization established in June 2020 that recycles old and unused bike parts to build functional bikes for those who have to go to work.
For this project, Escuela Taller has also partnered with the socio-ecological company Bambike, which runs the Bambike Ecotours, a guided bicycle tour through the main historical and cultural sites inside Intramuros.
“Initially, we thought we would only assemble 20 bikes with the conservation team (made up of graduates from Escuela Taller) who are about to start working in the La Loma chapel. However, other projects will also start soon, so we have decided to double our current targets and build 40 in total, ”Mr. Paraan said.
The project needs bicycle frames and forks, axles, inner and outer tubes, handlebars, brake pads and levers and chains. Donations can be dropped off at Escuela Taller in Revellin de Recoletos, Victoria St., Intramuros, Manila. Donations of complete bicycle units are also welcome.
The bikes will be used by the team of conservation officers who will work on heritage projects located in Manila, including La Loma Chapel, Luneta Hotel and a possible project inside UP Diliman.
“We aim to assemble the 40 bikes between June and July. If we don’t complete them all by then, we may need to relaunch another phase of the project, ”said Paraan.
Those interested in contributing parts or bike units can send a message to the Escuela Taller Facebook page (fb.com/escuelataller.defilipinas) or text Philip (0945-133-9920) and Roy (0995-472-7778) before sending donations. – Michelle Anne P. Soliman