Most of the time, able-bodied adults can take for granted their ability to physically move from place to place to accomplish their goals. Whether walking to the corner store, bike-commuting, or hopping in the car to run an errand across town, our mobility is an often-overlooked aspect of our independence and a critical component of our ability to meet our own needs and support our families and communities.

When circumstances arise that affect mobility, whether as a result of physical injury or deformity of the limbs, or simply the result of living in remote rural areas, it can take a lifelong toll on individuals’ health, education, and long-term earning potential.

Organizations like World Bicycle Relief use the power of bicycles to bridge the gap where distance is a barrier to economic and social development. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, walking is the primary mode of transportation for millions of people. For women and girls, riding a bicycle can be a safer and faster way to cover long distances to go to the marketplace or to school. And it’s also a useful tool for transporting cargo (food, medicines, water, and more) in a fraction of the time it would take to carry on foot.

In addition to alleviating challenges of mobility arising from distance, effective interventions can also help overcome some of the toughest mobility challenges that may arise from birth defects, accidents, war and conflict, and environmental hazards.

Read more about the life-changing impact of improved physical mobility at Global Washington.