Blankets for Bikes Distribution Ceremony

Blankets for Bikes Distribution Ceremony

Work-to-earn Programmes

These programmes are aimed at adults, youth and those Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEETs), who earn bicycles in a range of ways:

Craft programmes:  Women earn bicycles by producing handicrafts, such as crocheting blankets, beanies and scarves.  The Blankets for Bikes programme allows women in rural communities to put their skills to use and provides a means of earning bicycles (which in turn can generate an income) in a region where unemployment is very high and opportunities are few and far between.

Qhubeka distributes 228 bicycles funded by National Lotteries Commission in Groot Marico region

North West, South Africa – On Thursday 4 April, 228 bicycles funded by National Lotteries Commission were distributed to people who have worked to earn them through the Qhubeka work-to-earn programme at the Madikwe Rural Development Program (MRDP) in South Africa’s North West province.

MRDP is a long-term Qhubeka implementation partner based in the rural Groot Marico area. Jobs in this region have previously been scarce, meaning communities often battled to make ends meet. MRDP aims to help change that through its various programmes.

Qhubeka is a global charity that moves people forward with bicycles in Africa. People earn bicycles through our programmes, improving their access to schools, clinics and jobs.

A bicycle is a tool that helps people to travel faster and further, to generate income and to carry more. In the face of extreme and persistent poverty, bicycles can change lives by helping to address socioeconomic challenges at the most basic level – helping people to get where they need to go.

These include Qhubeka work-to-earn programmes that incorporate handicraft initiatives, such as crocheting blankets, scarves and beanies, creating bright fabric musette bags, or making cowbells from recycled materials, as well as a bicycle assembly facility. The latter is one of two such facilities where the Qhubeka bicycles are assembled (the other one is in the Western Cape).

“It’s wonderful to see how Groot Marico has developed into a hub of creativity and how the community has embraced bicycles,” said Tsatsi Phaweni, Qhubeka Executive Director.

“It’s also wonderful to be distributing bicycles today that were manufactured by Qhubeka’s subsidiary, Real Bicycle Co. and assembled right here at MRDP. The wheel-lacers here have become experts at what they do. We’re also thankful to the National Lotteries Commission for funding these bicycles, as well as the 100 they funded in 2018 for schoolchildren in our learn-to-earn programmes in the North West province.”

MRDP falls within Qhubeka’s North West SHIFT Project. A SHIFT is a Qhubeka bicycle project that aims to distribute 5 000 bicycles into a specific geographic area for five years, with the aim of helping to SHIFT the entire community forward.

Emily Molokwane is one of the women who works at MRDP. She assembles bicycle wheels.

“Working at this factory has helped me so much because I can support my children and pay for their school fees,” she said. “One of my children has even managed to finish Matric with the aid of the money I get here. I love my job because I can also support myself and buy anything I need.”

Mapula Sesi is part of the Blankets for Bicycles programme. “Not only can my children drive with my bicycle, but also I can ride it,” she says.

“The bicycles make it easier to fetch water for my children and me because we have to walk half an hour to the next water tank.”