Riders founder is ‘Woman of the Year’

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Riders for Health motorcycle charity founder and boss Andrea Coleman has won a Barclays Woman of the Year award for her efforts in bringing healthcare to millions of rural Africans.

Coleman founded Riders for Health in 1990 with husband Barry Coleman. Since then she has been a driving force behind the organisation’s work to transform African transport infrastructure and health systems.

Coleman said: “I cannot describe how it feels to be named one of the Women of the Year. When I think of the many marvellous, brave, clever, stoical, women I meet in my work I realise just how lucky I am to be in a position to win this award.

“Women living in isolated, rural Africa are trapped by ill health, poverty and distance. They can never even dream that what they do will ever be seen let alone recognised. I am lucky. I have had that opportunity.”

She added: “Riders for Health makes sure that the heroes of health care – the front-line health workers – use well-managed motorcycles to reach millions of people with the health care they need, reliably and predictably.

“I am proud that our work is helping to give at least some of those women freedom from the tyrannies of poverty and distance.”

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, President of Women of the Year, said: ‘Andrea is a very worthy and inspirational recipient of this ‘Women of the Year’ award. Through sheer hard work and determination, she has translated her lifelong passion as a motorcyclist into a successful award-winning programme in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Colemans launched Riders for Health after seeing remote African communities denied medical treatment and supplies because medical vehicles were breaking down.

Riders for Health trains local health workers to maintain and ride motorcycles, enabling them to carry out their jobs and deliver care to those in need.

You can find out more about Riders for Health at www.riders.org.