Team Africa Rising is fortunate to be working with an amazing group of people in Lunsar, Sierra Leone. Karim Karama is the young man who is working to advance the sport of cycling in his country. He works as the Country Director for Village Bicycle Project and also runs a club team in his home town of Lunsar. He is commmitted to growing the sport for the boys and girls he works with in his community.
Karim shares the story of this remarkable young woman, Isata, and how the bicycle is changing her life!

This is Isata Sama Mondeh. She is a cyclist and also the first female bicycle mechanic in Sierra Leone trained by me last year.

Isata finished high school in 2013. Just after that she didn’t have money to go to university. So all along she was just moving up and down hanging out with friends. I met ISATA in 2017 at Freetown on a bicycle race organized by the Sierra Leone Cycling Federation. Just after that race I invited her for a visit to Lunsar where I live. She visited in June 2017 and spent one week with me, but during that week she asked me if she could have a job.

So I was surprised by Isata asking me for a Job. So I asked her as well and say Isata how can I employ you? It was from there I came up with the idea of asking her if she could like to train as a female bicycle mechanic. She instantly said yes without even hesitating and asking more questions like other girls when you tell them about being a bicycle mechanic.
So finally last year I brought her over to Lunsar for the training as a bicycle mechanic which she did. After she had gone through the training I gave her a tool box with all over bicycle tools that I received from our VBP partners Bikes for the World. Later I found a sponsor in the UK, a friend of mine, who sponsored me with £400 to rent a shop for ISATA.
I rented the shop for her in Makeni which is a 45 minute drive to Lunsar where she now has her own shop. She’s fixing bikes and selling spare parts to people in the Makeni community. Presently she has already employed two other girls working with her and all of them are cyclists. They recently participated in the Tour de Lunsar where Isata won the first position in the female category.
If you want to help women like Isata, you can do so by hosting your own fundraiser for women or donating directly to our Women’s Cycling Development initiative.
#TheseGirlsRide