PHOTOS | DYLAN LOWTHIAN/UNDP
The Pink Panthers motorcycle club in Monrovia, Liberia is made up of women who make their living riding motorcycles as taxis. Motorcycles are often the easiest and cheapest mode of transport in third world countries with little to no infrastructure. After several assaults (one rider was guided into an ambush by potential passengers, beaten and had her bike stolen), these women decided to band together and established a motorcycle club by wearing bright pink and riding together.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Angie Brooks Foundation partnered up to support this club by giving them helmets, jackets and publicity to help their jobs be safer, and maintain their independence and jobs. Most women work from 5am to 9pm everyday and some are sole bread-winners for their families. But more remarkable is the action of these women to band together in the face of an ever present threat to their safety, to ensure their lives and that of their children remain in their own hands.
Heleana is a force of nature. The founder of In Venus Veritas and The Petrolette, and a co-founder of Rising Sun Workshop. Heleana shares her love of vintage cars, riding motorcycles, and (not-so-secretly) dreams of flying planes and piloting a riva aquariva (a la Sophia Loren) very fast through the canals of Venice. Supportive and connected, community is her lifeblood, and she is as real as they come.