On 26 April, Children in the Wilderness (CITW) and Qhubeka distributed 250 bicycles to underprivileged learners at N’wanati High School in Limpopo’s Makuleke community as part of Qhubeka’s Scholar Mobility Programme.
“We are thrilled to be working with Qhubeka on this exciting project and to ensure the smooth delivery of these bicycles which will enable these students to get to school quicker and, in some cases where they are using public transport, more affordably. Enabling and empowering students to get to school is an important long-term goal of ours to educate and uplift our partner communities,” said Dr Sue Snyman, CITW Regional Programme Director.
The 250 bicycles were donated to learners from CITW’s Eco-Club at the High School; those who achieved good academic results and demonstrated their ongoing commitment to giving back to their community and to the environment. CITW also facilitated the community liaison required to set up a Bicycle Supervisory Committee (BSC) to ensure the sustainability of the programme. The committee identified the beneficiaries and field mechanics who were trained to maintain the bicycles for future personal financial gain.
Qhubeka ensured that the 250 bicycles and spare part set-up kits are ready for delivery. According to Sarah Phaweni, Qhubeka’s Executive Director, “Our bicycles will not only give these learners a means of getting to school but will also help to save time on their commute which they can in turn use to study, help with chores or even play with friends. We are always excited to partner with other organisations wanting to create a better life for South Africa’s children and are therefore really proud of our association with Children in the Wilderness which has enabled this delivery of bicycles”.
Qhubeka is an Nguni word that means ‘to move forward’ or ‘to progress’, with transport being a fundamental element of development. Most of Africa’s rural population has no access to transport and people have to walk long distances to receive education, healthcare and community services. Rural schoolchildren are particularly badly affected by lack of mobility. Having a bicycle helps to change lives by increasing the distance people can travel, what they can carry, where they can go and how fast they can get there.
“We have worked closely with the Makuleke Community for numerous years and are always impressed by the positive outputs received from N’wanati High School’s Eco-Clubs. We are really looking forward to the positive and long-term impact this programme will have on this community and hope that it inspires future job creation and opportunities,” says Snyman.