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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 December, 2004, 11:30 GMT
Royal Mail swaps bikes for guns
Child in Liberia with gun
Children are being urged to give up their guns
Thousands of bicycles once used by British postmen are being given to people in Liberia who hand over guns.

It is hoped the exchange will take weapons used by civilians during the bloody civil war out of circulation.

Those who swap their guns for a red and white bike will receive training on how to maintain it, said the Royal Mail.

The offer is also open to the child soldiers and young people who fought alongside adults during the conflict, which lasted from 1989 until 2003.

'Scrap-heap'

The bikes will be shipped by charity group Re-Cycle, which has sent thousands of reconditioned cycles to various countries.

Some of the bikes have already arrived in Liberia and are being used by people to carry food and other produce around.

People ride Royal Mail bikes in Liberia
Liberians using their Royal Mail bikes to distribute farm produce
Gary Millard, Royal Mail's equipment manager for cycles, said: "Royal Mail has one of the largest fleets of bikes in Europe and Re-Cycle ensures those we no longer use do not jut end up on the scrap heap.

"By offering this equipment, we can make a real difference to many people and communities."

Since Royal Mail joined Re-Cycle, the postal organisation has donated more than 8,000 bikes overseas.

In South Africa, children are already using Royal Mail bikes to travel to school and other people are using them to find jobs and travel to work.

Royal Mail has 36,500 bikes and the average lifespan of each model is seven years.




SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Liberia
09 Nov 04 |  Country profiles


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