History of Chooda
In 2011 a group of friends had just completed AIDS/LifeCycle and asked the question: "how can we do more?" Over the next months founding members -JD, Stephanie, Heidi, Ali, and Andy - embarked on creating Bike Zambia.
In 2012, 1 in 7 people living in Zambia had HIV/AIDS, and life expectancy was 39.* The aim of Bike Zambia was to bring resources to a region truly impacted by the AIDS epidemic. A small group of people fundraising could affect dramatic change.
*According to the latest World Health Organization data published in 2015, this figure had increased to 1 in 8 people, with life expectancy being 59. The work in prevention and treatment, combined with improved access to antiviral drugs is making a large impact. Nevertheless, the need is still great.
Bike Zambia - Ride bicycles to empower, sustain, and enrich communities
The idea behind Bike Zambia was not just to create an event that raised money for organizations, but to visit these organizations along the way so ride participants would return as advocates and ambassadors, having been truly transformed by the trip. Creating a space for conversations to occur - between community leaders working in the field, people using services, and riders doing fundraising who want to be allies and advocates - is a central tenant of Chooda's programming.
2012 - The first trip
JD, Stephanie, Andy, Ali, and Heidi spent countless hours organizing the logistics of the first Bike Zambia. From choosing a location, selecting beneficiaries, and addressing medical procedures, to recruiting participants, fundraising, and organizing, the team was pleased to witness an amazing event with 34 participants and $80,000+ given out in grants.
2013 - 2017 - Expansion in Service and Reach
In 2013, Chooda was granted its 501(c)3 status, so more of the vital funds raised could be directed abroad. On an all volunteer staff, all money raised went directly to programming. Chooda continued to expand its reach, collaborating with new organizations in Zambia and drawing riders from across the globe. In addition to Board members, key volunteers like Pete, Jackie, Janelle, Brian, Brendon, Kevin, Zack and others played a key role in making Bike Zambia a success year after year.
2014 - Trek Nepal And Furthering Impact
In 2014, Chooda organized a second trip - Trek Nepal, a 16-day trek to the base of Mt Everest that benefited an organization called Teach for Nepal. The success of this trip made Chooda realize the possibilities to expand its programming.
2017 - Looking Ahead
As Chooda aims to further achieve its mission, the Board of Directors hired its first staff person in 2017 with the aim to expand programming. Chooda will hold true to its core value of low overhead.
For those of you who have been part of our organization from the beginning - thank you! And for those of you just learning about Chooda, please join us as we move forward and aim to make a meaningful impact in the world!