In February 2010, during an all-terrain buggy ride tour in Baclayon, Bohol run by her cousin, Joel Uichico, Jo Grant asked about the massive groups of children walking from school. After some research, Joel discovered public school children had to walk great distances to get to school and often this distance and the inability to pay for public transportation were the biggest reason some children dropped out. Looking at the terrain the children had to travel, he concluded a bicycle could be a viable solution.
Joel took his idea and approached Jo to collect some bicycles in the US. Recognizing the need was probably not isolated in Baclayon, Jo encouraged making Baclayon a pilot program that could potentially be implemented across the country.
After many calls to different organizations in the US, Jo received a call back from Bikes for the World in October 2010. About the same time, Joel Esguerra, an architect from Gensler Baltimore office, was looking for a charitable community initiative for his company. Being an avid cyclist and with roots in the Philippines, he made contact with Bikes for the World. Recognizing the potential strength in combining efforts, Bikes for the World connected Joel and Jo. Talks between the two and Keith Oberg, Director of Bikes for the World, began in Jan 2011. The program was to be implemented in the Philippines by Joel Uichico.
The first container of bicycles was shipped in July 2011. Joel Uichico organized volunteers from the community as well as members of local cycling clubs, schools and the Philippine Army and Navy to begin setting the program in motion.
Starting with the small town of Baclayon, Bohol, Bikes for the Philippines has spread such that we have supplied bikes to a number of schools across the Philippines as well as to other Philippine nonprofits.