By Maryanne Cdristiano-Mistretta
The West Orange Police Department donated more than 40 bicycles that were approved for destruction to “Adopt One Village.”
The founder of the charity is a local mailman from West Orange, Emmanuel Anim-Sackey, better known as Baba.
According to the Adopt One Village website, Baba began aiding his village in Abetifi-Kwahu, Ghana, in 2006, when he started collecting donations of toiletries, clothing, sports equipment and other goods as he went along his mail route. He’d then bring those items home to the children and elders of his village, organizing a mimimum of two trips per year with the help of many dedicated volunteers.
Baba had left his impoverished village in Ghana to build a better life for himself in 1996. When he left, he vowed to someday return and share his good fortune with his small village. In 2008 he was awarded Citizen of the Year in West Orange, and in 2009 National Humanitarian of the Year by National Association of Letter Carriers.
In collaboration with a local West Orange church, the West Orange Police Department, Siemens and a number of private donations, bikes were provided to those in the village who needed transportation to neighboring villages for school or to gain employment; as well as to teachers from neighboring villages to begin working in Abetifi-Kwahu.
The bikes “belong” to Adopt One Village and are on loan so that they cannot be sold or bartered for other items, as is the custom in many cases.
West Orange Police Sgt. Dennis McCole said, “A lot of people in the community know him [Baba] and his charity. They let us know about him. We thought it would be a good way to make sure something good is happening with the bikes.”
The bikes are found property or held for safe keeping, not evidence. They have various circumstances.
McCole said, “Sometimes someone we’ve arrested is on a bicycle. They don’t come back for it. The bike itself may be stolen. In many instances we can’t find the owner. We only have a certain amount of space to store. We continually have to clear out. We’ve exhausted all other measures. We’ll call Emmanuel. Within a day or two here’s here for Adopt a Village.”
The children of Ghana are given bikes with the intent of education. McCole said, “It looks like a lot of these kids will go to school in order to get a bike. They are rewarded with a bike. It sounds like a very positive thing.”
This is the third time the West Orange Police Department has donated bikes, which aren’t in the best of condition. McCole said, “A lot of these bikes are close to being garbage. Most have flat tires and broken chains. He’s got somebody who volunteers to fix bikes and get new tires and get them in good working conditions and safe.”
Adopt One Village focuses on four areas: education, health care, infrastructure, and quality of life.
For more information on Adopt One Village, visit: https://www.adoptonevillage.org/.