Founder of Rides for Lives
2013 Global Fellow
There are many people living in poverty in rural Uganda; dirt roads, dry conditions, and long distances between villages and scarce health care facilities challenge access to critical health and education services. Rides for Lives manufactures high quality transport products, which are designed, assembled, and distributed locally, with local conditions and resources in mind. Unlike imported items, Rides for Lives products can take a beating: they can be baked by the sun, pounded by the rain, dragged over huge potholes and rocky surfaces, and still remain standing. These products help individuals in rural Uganda access dispensaries, clinics and hospitals many miles away from their villages.
Chris Ategeka, founder and CEO of Rides for Lives, is an engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur at heart. Chris, the eldest of five siblings, was orphaned after losing both parents to HIV/AIDS. He became the head of the household and caretaker to his siblings at the age of seven, an experience he credits for his leadership abilities. Motivated by his experiences growing up in rural Uganda, Chris started Rides for Lives (formerly CA Bikes) to connect individuals and communities in rural Uganda to critical health and education services by means of locally made transport vehicles such as wheelchairs, bicycles, and bicycle-ambulances. Chris has been awarded several awards for his work at Rides for Lives, including the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) award, a Chevron award, and the Judith Lee Stronach award. He spoke at TEDxSacramento in 2012 and delivered the commencement student address at UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering graduation ceremonies in 2011. Chris holds a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and is currently taking time off from pursuing his Ph.D at the same institution to concentrate full time on Rides for Lives.