On 5 March 2015, 300 school children in Umvoti, KwaZulu-Natal, became proud recipients of Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles thanks to generous donations from the 50 Mile Ride event organisers and other supporters who contributed towards Qhubeka’s #GiveHope campaign.
The bicycles were handed over as part of the Bicycle Education Empowerment Programme (BEEP), implemented by World Vision South Africa and Swiss counterpart, World Vision Switzerland, in partnership with Qhubeka (World Bicycle Relief’s programme in South Africa). The aim of BEEP is to help children get to school faster and more safely through providing them with bicycles, which reduces their commute time by up to 75%.
The recipient schools were:
- Vikindlala Primary School
- Mgwempisi Primary and Secondary School
- Mvoti School
- Mashingizela Secondary School
- Busana Secondary School
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 is setup at each recipient school and represented by teachers, SGB (student governing body) members and parents. The Bicycle Supervisory Committee’s role is to not only select beneficiaries but also enforce the two-year service-to-own contract which governs the use of the bicycle.
All this was explained to the children at the bicycle distribution ceremony, held at Busana Secondary School. In attendance were proud parents, school staff and members of the local community who all came to celebrate as the children enjoyed their first rides on the new Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles.
Thanks to donors and fundraisers
The bicycles handed over today were funded by generous Qhubeka supporters – 230 by the organisers of the 50 Mile Ride in Southern California, USA, 65 by people who contributed funds towards Qhubeka’s 2014 year-end #GiveHope campaign, and five through individuals who raised funds or donated to Qhubeka.
The 50 Mile Ride for Rwanda originally started as a 50th birthday ride in 2006, and has evolved into one of the largest mountain bike events in Southern California. The funds raised during the 2014 event were originally designated for bicycles in World Bicycle Relief (WBR)projects in Rwanda. Unfortunately, no implementing partner could be found by WBR in Rwanda at the time, so the organisation obtained permission from the 50 Mile Ride organisers to channel the bicycles into Qhubeka, the WBR programme in South Africa.
“Although our event is challenging physically, the 50 Mile Ride is a ‘fun ride’, not a race,” explains Doug Grant, the event organiser. “Part of what makes it fun for our riders is knowing they are making a difference simply by doing something they already love to do – riding a mountain bike. Educating the next generation is something I’m passionate about, and it’s a privilege to join WBR in their efforts to provide life-changing mobility to students.”
“We really appreciate the support of the 50 Mile Ride,” says Sarah Phaweni, Qhubeka Executive Director. “We’d like everyone that chose to ride last year to know that although the bicycles are not in Rwanda as planned, they have changed the lives of 230 children here in South Africa forever. We’re also very grateful to all those who supported our #GiveHope campaign, which has funded 65 bicycles. Research shows that every bicycle that goes into the field positively impacts five lives, so through their support of the campaign, they’ve actually reached 325 people in rural South Africa. A special word of thanks must go to one of our UK supporters, Les Antoine, who funded an incredible 10 bicycles out of these 65.”
“The handover of the first 300 bicycles for the year represents the start of a very exciting year for BEEP. We believe the children and community of Umvoti will benefit greatly from the bicycles that enable recipient students to attend school on time and so improve their overall educational outcomes,” says Paula Barnard, National Director of World Vision SA.
Qhubeka is an Nguni (Zulu, Xhosa) word that means “to carry on”, “to progress”, “to move forward”.
Qhubeka helps people move forward and progress by giving bicycles in return for work done to improve communities, the environment or academic results. Having a bicycle changes lives by increasing the distance people can travel, what they can carry, where they can go and how fast they can get there.
About World Bicycle Relief
World Bicycle Relief is a non-profit organization mobilizing people through The Powerof Bicycles®. World Bicycle Relief’s mission is accomplished by designing, sourcing and manufacturing bicycles designed to withstand African terrain and conditions, while meeting the needs of students, healthcare workers, farmers, and entrepreneurs. The work performed by World Bicycle Relief encourages local economies and promotes long-term sustainability by locally assembling bicycles, training mechanics, strengthening the spare parts supply chain, in addition to providing high-quality, affordable bicycles to people in need of transportation. For more information, please visit: www.worldbicyclerelief.org
About World Vision South Africa
World Vision South Africa is currently active in 20 in-community projects and programmes, in six provinces throughout South Africa, impacting and serving over 87 000 children directly through child sponsorship, and indirectly impacting a further 15 million children, and over 1 million households through advocacy and in-community programming efforts which includes access to education. Please visit www.worldvision.co.za