Fixing Bikes for Kids
This is a small project of the Indigenous Peoples Partnerships Cluster, the heartwarming story about Joseph Takpannie from Iqaluit who spends weekends gathering bikes from dump to fix for local kids.
Gathering discarded bikes, strollers and toboggans from Iqaluit’s landfill has become part of 13-year-old Joseph Takpannie’s Saturday routine.
His mom Ina drives him to the landfill and every weekend he gathers about seven bikes fix up throughout the week and gives them away to local kids.
Joseph guesses that he repaired and given away about 100 bikes over three years.
Many of them just need minor repairs, like a new chain, which takes about 20 minutes to fix, he said, others need a bit more work.
On average, Joseph fixes about one bike every evening after school. As he accumulates fixed bikes they are set up outside for kids and parents to claim.
Joseph does all the repairs in his backyard, with a nearby pile of bikes waiting to be fixed up next.
His supplies usually come from the dump as well, with parts from different bikes making new working models. He’s even found bikes he’s fixed back at the dump.
Being completely self-taught, Takpannie learned to fix up bikes by watching mechanic shows on TV.
The aspiring mechanic said he’s looking forward to studying mechanics in school once he starts Grade 10 at Inuksuk High School next year.
“I might end up being a mechanic but I could still do cars and [bikes], these are easy.”
Jennifer MacMillan, a community member in our IPPC, took this project on and connected with Joseph’s mom to find out what he needed for the repairs and got a list from Joseph.
Jennifer contacted the owner of Stephen Licence in Belleville, Kevin and John Bongard, as we all felt we needed the experts. We purchased from Stephen Licence and they donated a lot of items when they heard Joseph’s story.
Please see the happy Joseph in the photos as well as Kevin and John Bongard, from Stephen Licence. We presented them a certificate of appreciation for all they did for Joseph.
In 2021 we supported the Rotary Club of Iqaluit with their annual Christmas Hamper.
The following clubs participated in this project:
- Rotary Club Belleville
- Rotary Club Trenton
- Rotary Club Wellington
- Rotary Club Palgrave
- Rotary Club Cataraqui-Kingston
- Rotary Club Stirling