SOURCE: Alaffia

June 30, 2008 12:27 ET

Alaffia Ships 2,000 Bicycles to Disadvantaged Students in Togo, West Africa

OLYMPIA, WA--(Marketwire - June 30, 2008) - From June 30 to July 2, 2008, Alaffia will be loading three 40 foot shipping containers with 2,000 bicycles destined for Togo, West Africa. With the help of local volunteers and natural foods stores, Alaffia collects used bicycles for their Bicycles for Education program and distributes them to disadvantaged Togolese students, mainly girls, as an incentive to stay in school. The live loading is at 8300 Steamboat Island Rd, Olympia, WA from 10-2 PDT.

The Bicycles for Education program is critical for empowering youth and decreasing poverty in Togo, where the average yearly income is less than $300. While most girls and boys in Togo complete primary school, attendance drops off rapidly in higher grades. According to UNICEF, 90% of girls in rural areas drop out before finishing secondary school. Rural students may walk 10 miles a day to attend school, and the time and energy required are deterrents to continuing school for girls, who have more household chores than boys. Olowo-n'djo Tchala, founder of Alaffia and Togolese native, states, "We believe that these bicycles will provide an incentive for girls to remain in school."

Togo cannot move out of poverty without educating its youth. The lack of education in the female population continues gender and economic inequalities. "We feel it is especially important to empower our female students, and for this reason, this shipment will be primarily distributed to girls in 50 different villages. I strongly believe that our communities in West Africa will gain the tools for self-empowerment through projects that encourage respect and gender equality," says Tchala.

For additional information on the Alaffia Bicycles for Education project, contact Olowo-n'djo Tchala or visit www.alaffia.com.

ABOUT ALAFFIA -- Olowo-n'djo Tchala founded Alaffia in 2004 to support community empowerment projects in his native Togo. Alaffia manufactures natural shea butter personal care products in Olympia, WA. The shea butter is produced in Togo by Alaffia's fair trade certified cooperative and shipped to Olympia, where is it the primary ingredient in Alaffia's premium handmade skin moisturizers, soaps and hair care products. Alaffia products are available at health and natural food stores, including co-ops and Whole Foods Markets, across the United States.

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