10thJun

Calitzdorp High School

Learn-to-earn Programmes:  Scholar Mobility

These programmes are targeted at children, who earn bicycles in various ways, with different earning criteria.  Bicycles make it easier for schoolchildren to get to and from school, helping to improve their attendance and performance.

Braais and bicycles are changing lives in Calitzdorp

Today in Calitzdorp, 200 schoolchildren were the thrilled recipients of their very own Qhubeka bikes. The bicycles were distributed to learners at Calitzdorp High School through a joint initiative between Jan Braai, the Jan Braai Cycle Tour, Qhubeka Charity, Avbob, Investec and PPS.

Over the course of two years, Jan Braai and the Qhubeka Charity have delivered nearly 300 bikes to Calitzdorp learners, with plans for many more to come.

Braai, real name Jan Scannell, known for his quirky braai cookbooks and popular Jan Braai vir Erfenis TV show, is a keen cyclist, and hosts the Jan Braai Cycle Tour twice a year.

The Cycle Tour takes nearly 40 riders into Calitzdorp, so having a bike distribution component to the event is a natural fit. Scannell’s visions for the event is for it to ultimately provide a bicycle for every learner, and every person, in Calitzdorp.

“The Jan Braai Cycle Tour is a showcase of the Western Cape’s Garden Route and Klein Karoo district roads, taking participants on a scenic journey through quiet gravel roads and breathtaking mountain passes,” says Scannell.

“The emphasis of the Tour is to have fun on and off the bike, and to enjoy the company of like-minded cyclists. But one of our aims is also to have a direct impact on the communities we pass through.

Many learners from the school live outside the town of Calitzdorp and have to commute the +/- 2km to school on foot every day. Bicycles will improve their mobility and afford these learners better access to school and other services. I think they will also have a lot of fun on the bikes too, and that’s just as important as being able to get from A to B.”

The funding idea for the Qhubeka bikes was dreamt up between Jan and his friend Nic Alberts late one night around a fire.

Soon after, the joint initiative between Scannell and Investec Asset Management gained momentum when AVBOB and PPS saw the potential of joining this campaign.

By 31 May 2019 four fundraising days would have been hosted in which people join for a ride and a braai with Qhubeka, Jan Braai and Investec Asset Management and are given the opportunity to contribute. To date this initiative has raised nearly R900 000, the equivalent of around 260 bicycles.

“We have been hosting fundraising events for Qhubeka for the past three years and are fortunate to have our clients partner with us in our commitment towards uplifting rural communities. Joining us today are partners AVBOB and PPS, both giving generously of their time and money.” says Nic Alberts, Client Director at Investec Asset Management.

“Following the success of previous fundraising events in the Cradle of Humankind and Stellenbosch, just under R900 000 has been raised to date. The funds have enabled Qhubeka to donate close to 260 bicycles in a quest to change lives with bicycles. Our roots remain in South Africa and the Western Cape particularly, so we are thrilled to be involved in this initiative.”

Qhubeka, of course, is well known for its bike distributions, and for the organisation to partner with Jan Braai’s Cycle Tour is another way to ensure young learners are able to enjoy freedom of movement.

“Qhubeka Charity has partnered Jan Braai and supporters to develop a lasting bicycle mobility programme in the communities that the Jan Braai Cycle Tour visits,” says Qhubeka Executive Director Tsatsi Phaweni. “The bicycle distribution event is a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved to see the smiles on the faces of the schoolchildren who will be using these bicycles to get where they need to go everyday – to school, sports activities, shops and study groups. It’s a chance to see how bicycles can change lives and move whole communities forward.”

One of the recipients of the new Qhubeka bikes on the day was 11-year-old, Chrissy. She was extremely happy to receive her new bike, as well as all the relevant tools and a brand new helmet.

“I’m so happy with my new bike. I love cycling. I am going to ride my bike home now, and then ride again tomorrow. I can’t wait to ride all the time. Thank you to everyone who made us these bikes, and for letting us ride them!”

Headmaster of Calitzdorp High School, Andrew Davids, says the bicycles are a fantastic tool for his students, allowing them self-sufficiency and the opportunity to experience the thrill of cycling as a mode of transport and as a pastime.

“These bicycles really do change lives. I am thrilled that the children have the opportunities. Now the other kids will have something to aspire too, something to aim for when they see their friends riding around town. We really appreciate everything that Jan, Investec, Avbob and PPS have done for the children. I really want them to earn their rewards in life, and I think having the bicycles as a goal well help them learn these lessons.”

The Jan Braai Cycle Tour will pass through Calitzdorp once more in 2019, in November. To enter the November edition of the Cycle Tour, and to play an invaluable role in the bike distribution, simply visit janbraaicycletour.com.

Photo credit:  Guillaume Bosch