Nancy Ford '16
– Between juggling track practice, going to sorority events, working as a residence adviser, and taking a leadership role in campus outreach, Wofford College sophomore Nancy Ford rarely sits still. In addition to all that, she has started a non-profit organization that helps move a Nicaraguan community both physically and spiritually.
Ford’s Set in Motion organization’s goal is to “set in motion a spiritual and physical life transformation” by delivering bicycles and bibles to communities in the Central American country. The idea for the effort came to Ford, an international studies major, from Sylva, N.C., after a mission trip with her church to Citalapa, Nicaragua, in 2010. The church held a bike race in the village and awarded the winner a brand new bicycle.
At the time, Ford says she wasn’t aware of the huge impact that the bicycle would have on the winner’s life. “With the bike, he was able to work in fields and get money and food for his family,” she says. “Before he had the bike, his family would have to suffer and miss meals because he wouldn’t always have reliable transportation.”
For many people in the community, the commute to work or to the market to get food involves walking miles just to get to a bus stop, she says. After they make it to the bus stop, the buses are often too crowded to carry more people, leaving those left behind to return home without a paycheck or food for their family. For those without any other mode of transportation, the bike provides a reliable way to commute to work regularly and receive steady income. The bike also makes the commute to the markets easier so that the owner can purchase food for their family.
The idea that something as simple as a bike could improve a person’s life so drastically inspired Ford she created Set in Motion.
She recently participated in the Impact & Launch Competition
held by Wofford’s The Space in the Mungo Center
, which provides students with the ability to build on their liberal arts education by adding professional skills desired by employers and graduate schools through five distinct programs.
The staff of The Space helped Ford develop the organization. “They have helped me learn how to articulate my story and has set me up with many opportunities to present Set in Motion and network with people who can help,” she says. “They -- Courtney Shelton (a director in The Space) in particular – have given me a lot of guidance piecing together some of my thoughts and ideas.”
Set in Motion uses donations to purchase bikes, locks, repair kits and a bible, which are distributed as a package to the community through a raffle. The bibles and the repair kits are purchased in the United States, while the bikes are purchased in Mangua, two hours away from Citalapa by car. Each bike and bible package costs $125 and is put together by the Set in Motion team of volunteers. With the help of donors, Ford has been able to give 41 bicycles to families in Nicaragua.
As for funding, Ford says, “Right now, I’ve partnered mainly with my church at home in Sylva, and they have done a tremendous job raising money. There’s also a church here in Spartanburg called Milestone Church and they’ve supported us this past trip. I also have a number of different individual donors and family donors.”
Ford likes to keep in touch with the families who have received bicycles from Set in Motion, learning about the positive impact the bicycles have had on the many families. “None of the families who have received a bike has missed a single meal and also all of the kids in those families have been able to attend school every single day and they haven’t had to skip because of transportation-related issues,” she says. “It’s exciting to hear that it actually is making the impact that I was hoping for.”
Ford says her organization is “a really good platform for talking about the greatest hope and the greatest love that I’ve ever heard of, which is Jesus Christ, and they’ve benefited tremendously and they’ve experienced a great amount of joy that they’ve ever had before and it’s a very fulfilling thing to do.”
Ford plans to study international relations and business so she can continue to impact communities around the world.
She plans to expand Set in Motion by partnering with churches and organizations that conduct mission trips to nations where they see a need for bikes. For more information about partnering with Set in Motion or donating, visit SetInMotionMinistry.weebly.com
To keep up with Nancy Ford and her many projects, follow her blog at FordNM.blog.com
. Written by Becky Salami, Class of 2015