Qhubeka bicycles and partnerships transforming communities in Giyani

Giyani, in South Africa’s Limpopo province, is the site of one of Qhubeka’s largest learn-to-earn bicycle programmes, implemented by World Vision South Africa. Today marked the third distribution in the space of a month that Qhubeka has distributed 350 new bicycles into schools in the region, bringing the total for the last month to 1 050 bicycles.

“This programme is what we call a Qhubeka SHIFT, which aims to help shift an entire community forward using bicycles,” explained Qhubeka Executive Director, Tsatsi Phaweni. “When we commit to a Qhubeka SHIFT programme, our intention is to distribute 5 000 bicycles into a single geographic region over a period of a few years. This builds a new bicycle culture and transforms entire communities. We’re seeing that in Giyani, in the way that people are embracing cycling as a means of transport, but also as something to do for fun. With bicycles, people’s access to schools, clinics and jobs is improved, and they can travel faster and further, and carry more.”

As part of its SHIFT programmes, Qhubeka also trains up bicycle mechanics in the community to ensure the longevity of the bicycles distributed. This also creates economic opportunities for the mechanics, who are trained not only on maintaining and repairing bicycles, but also receive basic business training.

Qhubeka partners with private, public and civil sector organisations to deliver greater impact. The bicycles distributed on 20 September have been funded by Varsity College (165 bicycles) and Julius Baer International Limited (240 bicycles).

Varsity College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (Pty) Ltd (registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training as a private higher education institution). Through on-campus and off-campus fundraising events, Varsity College students raised R470 000 for Qhubeka in 2017, which has funded the 165 bicycles distributed today.

“Students funding bicycles for schoolchildren is a wonderful gesture,” said Phaweni. “It gives us faith in the future leaders of our country to see that they are already working to help change lives.”

“We are very pleased to have aligned with an organisation that promotes education and progress for school children and teachers,” says Sané Ndlovu, PR & Events Manager at Varsity College. “At The IIE’s Varsity College, the student experience extends beyond the lecture room. The brand’s philosophy focuses on the holistic development of the student and we encourage a healthy balance between studies, social involvement and community engagement initiatives. Our brand plays a vital role in the community and through the partnership with Qhubeka we have been able to continue to instil a sense of citizenship in our students. This has increased their awareness of the needs of others and has allowed them to come up with many creative ways to raise funds.”

Julius Baer International Ltd is a multinational private bank. “We are delighted to have supported Qhubeka as part of our fundraising activities for The Market Cycle – a 1 100km bike ride from our headquarters in London to our headquarters in Zurich,” CEO David Durlacher said. “Qhubeka’s mission to use bicycles as tools of change and help increase connectivity between communities fits with the values of care, passion and excellence that we seek to promote in our own charitable initiatives. To date, Qhubeka has achieved remarkable success in supplying over 80 000 bicycles throughout their programmes in South Africa. We were pleased that we could use both the sport and the generous contributions of Julius Baer, the individuals taking part and the support from their families, friends and colleagues to promote the work that the charity does and the impact it makes on local communities.”

The remainder of the bicycles distributed over the past month have been funded by various Qhubeka partners. Grant Thornton, the charity’s audit firm, raised funds for 40 bicycles. Qhubeka grassroots fundraising (individuals who have fundraised or donated) and sales of Qhubeka beaded bracelets funded the remainder of the bicycles.

Schools that have received bicycles over the last month in Giyani include:

  • Shihlomule High School

  • Ndhambi High School

  • Semendhe High School

  • Zava High School

  • Maphusha High School

  • N’wa- Khada Secondary School

  • Chameti High School

  • Masiza High School

Source: Qhubeka press release

Photo credit: Carli Smith



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