Founder of 88Bikes
- Nepali Times
Founded in 2006, 88bikes works on a simple principle: for every $88 donation they get, one child receives a bicycle. Austin's model, though, isn't just about giving away bicycles. It's also about contributing to local economies. Every bicycle is purchased locally, and any labor for transportation, assembly, or assistance is hired locally. 88bikes' latest project is Project Asha, which gives away bicycles to victims of sexual slavery. Inspired by a bike giveaway in a remote Indian ashram, Project Asha aims to build gender equality in diverse communities and will help victims of sexual slavery and abuse.
Recently Austin extended his work into the United States, with plans to open the first sustainable 88bikeshop on the Navajo Nation in the Desert Southwest. There, young people will learn how to care for and repair their locally purchased bicycles in a shop constructed entirely out of locally-foraged materials, like the hoods of junked -cars. Austin is also an accomplished filmmaker, best known for his documentary True Fans, which chronicled his bike journey across America with his brother and his best friend. A book of the same name was also released, and a musical version is currently in development in New York.
The Incredible Journey of 88Bikes and Joy-Based Philanthropy
Dan Austin's Joy-Based Philanthropy is changing the way we think about helping children in the third world. This new movement embraces something most NGOs forget: that happiness is a need. NGOs shouldn't simply sustain people. They should help people thrive. From Cambodia to Uganda to Peru, Austin takes us to the places where 88Bikes is making a difference and helping children thrive. Along the way, he shows us why poverty still persists in certain locations. He shares the heartwarming stories of the children he's met. And he offers hard-won tips on making it as a social entrepreneur. Giving away bikes helps the local economy and provides children with the tools they need for future success. But it also, and importantly, makes them happy. "People don't want to give aimlessly," Austin says. "They want to support someone and know that their contribution is making someone happy." Austin's organization—and this talk—offer irrefutable proof.
True Fans: A Basketball Odyssey
Based on the nationally touring film of the same name, Dan Austin's hilarious and thoughtful True Fans details the journey Dan, his brother Jared, and best friend Clint Ewell started when they hopped aboard their bicycles and headed east from the pickup court at Venice Beach, handlebars pointed toward the NBA Hall of Fame. It was a basketball pilgrimage, shooting hoops on sandlots across the country, looking for enlightenment under a net. In their bicycle trailer, which they called "The Ark of the Covenant," they carried a few gallons of peanut butter and an unused basketball, on which they collected the signatures of those who helped them on their journey, from the Reverend Kevin Smith, who let them sleep behind his church, to Dick Simmons, a coal miner who offered them five dollars he could scarcely afford to part with. They would bring this ball to the Hall of Fame, and ask that it be included in the permanent collection. What would America do, the book also asks, if three guys on bikes with a basketball in tow showed up and begged for a handout? Not everyone was friendly- the strange "owner" of Amboy, Nevada, makes for a fairly spooky villain- but most of the country, they found, would do just about anything for them. Doors were opened from California to Springfield, Massachusetts, hamburgers comped, hot tubs proffered. Austin and his crew knocked, and for one hundred days, America answered. The result was a classic odyssey.
The Road Trip Pilgrim's Guide
A quirky, quasi-spiritual look at road trips and what inspires us to travel.
Fun and funny stories, as well as goofy illustrations, will entertain all for whom the shout "Road Trip!" brings an automatic smile.
Vagabond, couch-surfing, road-wise filmmaker author writes with the experience of someone who lives with one-hand clutching a sleeping bag.
Contains useful advice to help launch aspiring pilgrims onto their journeys. This guidebook-cum-journal describes how to plan and complete a successful road trip. Anecdotal and inspirational, it offers learned-on-the-road advice for seeking adventure, having fun, and taking time for yourself-whether it's a weekend trip to a nearby bluegrass festival, a week's vacation to explore your roots in Ireland, or a months-long journey to explore the ruins of Southeast Asia. The most essential element for a pilgrim? A sense of purpose and mindfulness every time you hit the road.
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