It’s Saturday morning, and I find myself involved in another online conversation about another terrible fund-raising campaign. I’m not going to point fingers here, because I don’t think it’s appropriate. But I want to make a couple of points about Tandem Armidale’s approach to fundraising.
First of all, Exsight and Tandem Armidale were founded by blind people, and we run our organisation as a partnership between stokers and pilots. Tandem riding is mutually beneficial, and while our pilot members don’t “need” the stokers to ride, tandem riding can be a lot more fun than a solo spin. Each ride is a partnership, because the bike doesn’t move if you don’t work together.
In the same way, our organisation won’t move if we don’t work together. We not only have designated management committee positions to disabled people (and I mean “disabled people”) but also for the able bodied as well. The organisation is a partnership too.
Because of this, we’re not asking for money so that stokers can be “taken for a ride”, because that’s never the case. We’re asking for money to help address a fundamental inequity.
One side of the inequity is down to a market-based economy. Tandem bikes are expensive, at least five times as expensive as a comparable “single” bike, and in general more like 8 times as expensive. They’re more expensive to make and the market is smaller, so cost is higher.
The other side of the inequity equation comes from the situation the most disabled people find themselves in: firstly, living costs are around 33% higher than for non-disabled (e.g. a commercial screen reader, which allows a blind person to use a computer, costs around $1000 – that’s ON TOP of the cost of your computer, and there’s no funding for this sort of thing). To make matters worse 45% of disabled Australians live on or below the poverty line, in part because our unemployment rate is around 53%.
So in order for Exsight and Tandem Armidale stokers, who are blind or vision impaired, autistic, have MS or a bunch of other impairments, to be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of riding a bicycle, they have to pay over five times as much with much less.
This is what our organisation is for. We’re not here to ask you to support some poor disabled person. We’re here to ask for some help in addressing a fundamental equity problem. All our members are intelligent and capable individuals
who deserve and are given respect, regardless of the impairments in their bodies.
And if you see or hear us doing something different, if you want to talk about any of our fundraising or other messages, get in touch.