Seattle, WA  – 88bikes Foundation, a nonprofit organization that gives bikes to kids in developing countries  has announced its next project, Asha 2012. Through its sixth and most ambitious project, 88bikes will endow bicycles to thousands of girls primarily those who having endured and transcended slavery and abuse – living in regions from Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia. The first endowment will take place in Summer 2012.

Asha 2012 was inspired by 88bikes’ 2010 endowment of bicycles to every girl living in an ashram in remote Bihar, India. Survivors of sexual slavery, they were sheltered by 88bikes’ nongovernmental agency partner, Free the Slaves, for several months before reintegrating back into their communities. The namesake for the project, “Asha” (her name has been changed to honor her privacy), had been sold into slavery by a neighbor in her village. She escaped after a week and found her way to the Bihar Ashram to recover. After six months at the ashram, Asha reintegrated back into the same community from which she was sold, a striking example of courage and resiliency. Asha means “hope” in Sanskrit.

“The 88bikes community was deeply touched by the gratitude and courage of these heroic souls in India, and other survivors in Nepal and Ghana,” said Dan Austin, co-founder of 88bikes. “With Asha 2012, we recognize that investing resources in girls helps build equality in diverse communities. As one girl in Bihar said, “The bicycle helps me feel equal to men.” We hope that these bikes will be catalysts for healing, health and, of course, happiness, for thousands of these courageous and inspiring girls.”

88bikes is currently accepting sponsorships of $88 per bike for Asha 2012. Donations can be made online at Donors are asked to email a picture of themselves, to be presented with the bike. In return, 88bikes sends back a photo of the child with her new bike and her donor’s picture.

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