Develop offers an interesting feature on Global Gaming Initiative founder Elizabeth Sarquis, who details why she started the mobile game development studio. GGI will release a new mobile game in May called Sidekick Cycle for $0.99. Sidekick Cycle downhill biking game challenges players to cycle through hazardous levels to deliver bikes to children in need.
For every sale, 50 percent will go towards the charity, World Bicycle Relief. World Bicycle Relief buys bicycles for children in Africa, who are often forced to walks for hours to get to school. World Bicycle Relief has assembled more than 120,000 locally-made specialty bikes to disaster victims, healthcare workers, students and others in Africa.
Speaking to Develop, Sarquis said the idea to create GGI and make games that have a meaningful impact came after her son – then 14-years-old – returned from working for a non-profit organization in Ecuador called Free the Children. Her son, telling stories of how young children didn't want to go to school because of how far away schools are in the region, ultimately inspired her to find a way to help. That way turned out to be developing mobile games, though Sarquis had no previous experience with such endeavors.
“What really got me motivated to figure out how to do that was when my son came home, he was 14 at the time, and he was working for a nonprofit in Ecuador called Free The Children,” said Sarquis. “He went there for three weeks and basically helped build a school, and when he came back from there he was a completely different kid, as you can imagine. He was really impacted by living in this village and meeting these kids."
"And one of the things that really bothered him a lot, and he would always tell me over the next six months, he told me about this little boy who didn’t want to go to school," she continued. "And to him that was like horrific, how could someone not want an education, that’s what’s going to help them change lives. He found out his reluctance to go to school was simply that he had to walk for three hours to get to school every morning and then he had to walk for three hours home after school, and once he got home he had to help his mum take care of his three siblings."