Through cycling, we provide a safe place for at-risk youth to learn about HIV and reach their full potential.
To create a self-sustaining youth organization in the community of Mafeteng, Lesotho. By bringing donated bicycles, we can donate half and sell half to empower the community, build a new youth center, and maintain that center by continuing to bring bicycles. This center will serve as a hub for youth empowerment and HIV prevention. Working with partners, we envision a cycling-driven curriculum teaching youth to maintain their health just as they maintain their bicycle. Working with partners, we want the center to offer numerous activities, classes, and new opportunities for youth.
Tshepo Nkhabu started Hands of Life at the age of sixteen with the idea that “giving is the mother of all successes.” He knew that the young people in his community of Mafeteng, Lesotho, had no safe place to go after school or during free time to engage with one another, grow, learn, and develop. Tshepo had a passion for cycling and sports from an early age and he knew from his own experience the life-changing impact these activities can have for anyone, especially youth. Cycling in beautiful Lesotho has the potential to increase self-discipline and confidence in the process of mastering not only the challenging terrain but also of learning bicycle maintenance. It is empowering for youth who may otherwise turn to crime and dangerous behavior, and it fosters a healthy lifestyle.
Tshepo, now nineteen years old, has already accomplished an amazing list of feats. He has established the organization of Hands of Life, has donated and sold hundreds of bicycles to the community, and he currently runs a regular radio program promoting health and sports. He has traveled across Lesotho and South Africa and leads youth on cycling trips, teaching them and training them in cycling and bicycle maintenance. It is awe-inspiring to see how many will come to his home office looking for bikes, or will flock to him to cycle, play, work on bikes, or to organize activities. This is already more than many believed was possible, but Tshepo’s dream is still growing.
Tshepo applied for a US Peace Corps Volunteer to assist the organization in its efforts to grow and achieve its mission. The Peace Corps recognized the potential of Hands of Life and granted his request, sending Skyland Woll from Florida, USA in April, 2015. Together they are working very hard to grow the organization to realize its full potential of empowering youth through cycling and camping, teaching essential life skills and HIV prevention in a country with the world’s second-highest prevalence of HIV. It is their strong belief that this kind of program has the potential to address a root cause of HIV and they seek to help the youth of Mafeteng, and eventually all of Lesotho, gain vital skills to lead them to build better lives. We at Hands of Life believe that we can achieve the goal of creating a sustainable organization to sell and donate bikes, build a youth center, and facilitate trips and events with youth for many years to come.