On June 8th, six recent college graduates set out on a cross-country bicycle trek in the name of micro finance, an approach to alleviating world poverty. The group, dubbed MicroBikeUSA, has partnered with Accion International with a goal to raise $50,000 to improve training and technological resources for micro finance institutions in the developing world, who use small loans to help the poor escape the trap of poverty.
It is estimated that half the population of the world - totaling 3 billion people - live on less than $2 per day, are isolated from the traditional financial system, and in many cases have no choice but self-employment. Micro loans have provided a dignified form of relief to millions of people who have made their livelihoods more efficient and profitable.
The MicroBikeUSA riders has already spent four of a total of nine weeks biking about 80 miles a day. Leaving from Darien, CT, the team has to overcome the Rockies before finally ending their journey in San Francisco, CA. Tyler Heishman, rider and graduate of Bentley College, explained, "Since hearing about micro finance at last year's Time/Bentley Leadership Conference, I have found the idea incredible. Throughout the trip, I will be motivated to teach people about micro finance and think about ways to tackle the world's problems."
The group is soliciting invitations to speak to various audiences about micro finance and encourages those near the route to write to them. To contact the team or help them to reach their $50,000 goal, visit www.microbikeusa.com, www.accion.org/MicroBikeUSA, or email MicroBikeUSA@gmail.com.