Motorrad Angels is a non-profit group of motorcycle enthusiasts traveling in Colombia and the world bringing clean water and medical assistance to those in need.
I first found out about Motorrad Angels a few months ago when I met for lunch in Medellín with a friend and Tom Palmer. Tom is the founder of this organization.
This non-profit charity organization started out in Colombia and has been expanding rapidly with clean water and disaster relief projects mostly in Latin America. And they have grown to where they have chapters in 29 different countries.
History of Motorrad Angels
Motorrad Angels was started in August 2016 by Tom Palmer. Both founder and GS Trophy Rider Dennis Godwin are avid motorcycle riders who wanted to do more as they rode through impoverished areas in Colombia and other countries.
They decided to form an organization to help less fortunate people along the way during their travels. Here is their mission statement:
We are Motorrad Angels, adventure motorcycle riders bringing clean water and other life-saving assistance to vulnerable communities around the world.
Motorrad Angels riders carry and deliver Sawyer water filtration systems to those living in impoverished areas without clean drinking water. Each water filter supplies 100 people with potable water for 5 to 7 years. The filters can provide about 340 gallons per day or about 1 million gallons of clean water over the lifetime of a filter.
Since their formation in 2016, Motorrad Angels has completed over 270 projects. And collectively they have ridden more than 93,000 miles, formed 37 chapters in 29 countries and have touched over 660,000 lives.
Besides working on water projects, this non-profit organization also works on disaster relief projects. Motorrad Angels has assisted many people affected by earthquakes in Mexico, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, floods in Peru, volcano eruptions in Guatemala and with refugees entering Colombia from Venezuela.
More About the Sawyer Water Filters
The Sawyer water filters used by Motorrad Angels are microfiber filters. And these filters can be back-flushed with clean water to remove bacteria and sediment and make the filter as good as new again. So, there are no cartridges to replace and the filter cost is only about $30 USD.
During the installation, community members are educated on how to install and maintain the filters. This helps ensure long-lasting sustainability. And the filters are estimated to be good for 5 to 7 years.
The water filters reportedly makes it virtually impossible for harmful bacteria (like salmonella), protozoa, or cysts like E. coli, Giardia, Vibrio cholerae, and Salmonella typhi to pass through the filter. And all Sawyer water filters meet or exceed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended removal rates.
First Project: La Guijira, Colombia
Motorrad Angels’ first project was in La Guijira, Colombia. This is an impoverished village in Colombia without access to clean water. People living in this village were getting sick from disease-ridden water. And they had to walk for three or four hours to retrieve it.
For this project, water filtration was established in La Guijira so residents living in extreme poverty would have access to clean water. And for the community, the impact of this project was tremendous.
After this first successful project, Motorrad Angels started to get inquiries from around the world from people interested in getting involved. So, the organization started to establish chapters in other countries. Each chapter is led by a captain who is an experienced rider and acts as a community liaison.
2019 Venezuela/Colombia Mission Background
For more than two years, a steady stream of refugees have crossed into Cúcuta, Colombia escaping the dire economic situation in Venezuela. Venezuela has been weathering an economic collapse and, more recently, a political crisis.
An estimated 3.7 million Venezuelans have left their homes for Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and other countries in the region. Colombia has opened its doors and reportedly 1.2 million Venezuelans are now in Colombia. This is equivalent to about 2.5 percent of Colombia’s population with more arriving every day, which is overwhelming border cities like Cúcuta.
Over a year now, the Motorrad Angels team has been visiting different areas of Cúcuta. They analyzed the very difficult situation of many people and also helped those searching for food, potable water and other basic needs.
With Venezuela’s healthcare system collapsing over the last year, many Venezuelans have crossed the border seeking Colombian aid for medical care. But the system in Colombia is overwhelmed and can’t treat all the refugees. This is why Motorrad Angels decided to help and connect with others in order to help as many as possible with a mission to Cúcuta.
March 2019 Mission to Cúcuta, Colombia
From March 21 to 30, 2019, Motorrad Angels arranged for a health mission in Cúcuta, Colombia with 12 doctors working for 10 hours daily, doing medical checkups on women, mothers, children, men and elders.
Also, during this mission five volunteer dentists worked the first two days on site and afterwards in a dental clinic, providing dental treatments for those with severe problems.
Over a period of six days, over 4,000 people were treated and taken care of. And thanks to the support of World Central Kitchen, all these people had lunch provided on a daily basis.
This Cúcuta project involved a team of 11 Motorrad Angels members, many medical volunteers and many more local volunteers. Along with the health mission, members were able to assist refugees that were actively walking.
Many Venezuelans that enter Colombia do not stay in Cúcuta but rather continue traveling by foot to various cities within Colombia. The Motorrad Angel team visited multiple shelters locating refugees and evaluated their immediate needs.
In addition, Motorrad Angel distributed 500 pairs of shoes, 500 solar-powered inflatable lights, and provided transportation to cities in Colombia like Medellín and Bogotá. The shoes were provided by Bosi and lights were provided by MPOWERD.
Furthermore, Motorrad Angels partnered with other organization like the foundation El Comité de Rehabilitacion de Antioquia, which helped in local matters as well as with the national pharmacy Cruz Verde, which delivered medicine and supplies.
Also, very important was the Chaplain of OFICA-ICC whose volunteer team provided space and support. Besides these partners, Motorrad Angels cooperated with the Norte de Santander government and the local division of the Department of risk and disasters, which helped with permits and several mobile units for the medical team.
The Cúcuta mission project budget was over $50,000 USD with just under half coming from another non-profit organization, GiveTotheWorld.
Special Mission: Venezuela Military Defectors
Along with this mission in Cúcuta, Motorrad Angels also spent March 29, 2019 treating ex-military Venezuelan defectors and their families who have surrendered to the Colombian government and are kept under high security in Cúcuta.
A team of 10 doctors and only one dentist worked for 10 hours in a coliseum located in a school that was provided as the working location. And a total of 400 people received medical and dental care.
Motorrad Angels Needs Your Help
Motorrad Angels is a non-profit organization and is always looking for motorcycle enthusiast volunteers for its projects.
In addition, Motorrad Angels needs help via donations to fund its projects. Also, this non-profit organization is a charity that is 100 percent volunteer-based. So, 100 percent of every dollar donated goes directly to Motorrad Angels projects. And donations are tax deductible for U.S. citizens.
For example, a donation of just $5 USD per month will enable buying two water filters, which will help 200 people with clean water for 5 to 7 years.
Meet Motorrad Angels at the Medellin Guru Meetup on June 18!
Motorrad Angels will be at the Medellin Guru meetup on Tuesday, June 18 at Mercado Del Tranvia in Envigado.
At this event, Motorrad Angels will have a presentation with a video and also a demonstration of the water filter they use.
The Bottom Line: Motorrad Angels – Bringing Clean Water to Those in Need
Motorrad Angels is doing some very admirable work. So, Medellin Guru published this article to help get the word out about this organization.
Please share this article on social media such as Facebook and Twitter and help spread the word about this charity!
The bottom line is that the volunteer Motorrad Angels riders have the desire for adventure along with a desire to help others. And they have formed a very interesting organization, which is combining adventure riding with bringing clean water and medical and dental assistance to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.
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