Distributing bicycles and hope to children in rural KwaZulu-Natal

On 12 March 2015 at Busana School in Umvoti in KwaZulu-Natal, students, parents, teachers and community members gathered together to celebrate. The cause for their jubilation was the distribution of 300 bicycles to school children in the region, to help them get to school faster and more safely.

Photo: Supplied

Photo: Supplied

Thanks to the generous support of Castelli, leading cycling clothing manufacturer, and other Qhubeka supporters, these children will be able to reduce their commute time by up to 75%.

The Umvoti handover recipient schools are:

1. Sangweni Secondary School

2. Mbhobho Secondary School

3. Qhubinyathi Secondary School

4. Maqhinga Secondary School

5. Hermannsburg School

The bicycles were handed over as part of the Bicycle Education Empowerment Programme (BEEP), implemented by World Vision South Africa and World Vision Switzerland in partnership with Qhubeka (World Bicycle Relief’s programme in South Africa).  Through BEEP, children sign a two-year study-to-earn contract that requires them to improve their class attendance and academic performance. At the end of the contract, the bicycles become their property.

A Bicycle Supervisory Committee (BSC) is set up at each recipient school and represented by teachers, student governing body members and parents. The BSC’s role is not only to select beneficiaries, but also enforce the two-year service-to-own contract that governs the use of the bicycle.

Of the 300 bicycles handed over at the bicycle distribution ceremony, 149 were funded by Castelli and 66 by fundraisers from Investec, a specialist investment banking and asset management group. A further 28 bicycles were funded by Advendurance, race organiser of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series, where cyclists chose to donate the cost of their race medals to Qhubeka.

10 bicycles were funded through TransAfrika, an adventure cycling race from Beit Bridge in Zimbabwe to Cape Town in South Africa, and nine by Scicon, through the sales of Scicon Qhubeka saddle bags. Three bicycles were funded by ICE ID through the sale of Qhubeka ICE ID bracelets.

21 bicycles were funded by Kevin Benkenstein’s Everesting campaign for Qhubeka(where he ascended the equivalent height of Mt Everest in a single ride), and the final 14 bicycles were funded through the collective contributions of individuals who raised funds or made donations to Qhubeka.

Steven Smith, Brand Manager at Castelli, says, “Going beyond Castelli’s support for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung, Castelli’s distributors and employees have contributed funds for 74 bikes, which has been matched by the company. We’re happy to support this project and make a difference in 149 people’s lives.”

“We really appreciate the support of everyone who raised funds to sponsor these bicycles,” says Sarah Phaweni, Qhubeka Executive Director. “Without our supporters, Qhubeka would not be able to change people’s lives with bicycles, so we’d like to give heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in contributing towards the 300 bicycles distributed today. The smiles on the faces of these kids as they take their first rides on the new bikes prove that what you’ve done has already made a positive impact, and we look forward to seeing their school attendance improving too now that they have access to their own transport.”

“With each bicycle we handover, we are one step closer to realising improved education accessibility.  Students walk as far as 8km one way a day to attend classes; this means they have to leave home at 5h30 to be at school at 7h30.  Riding a bicycle to school cuts this time down to 45 minutes one way.  This is a truly significant improvement,” says Paula Barnard, National Director of World Vision SA.

Source: Qhubeka Press Release