Absa Cape Epic Charities Partner to Benefit Youth and Environment

Three Absa Cape Epic official charities, Qhubeka, Anna Foundation and the Cape Leopard Trust, have announced a new cycling-focused partnership in the Boland and Cederberg regions of South Africa’s Western Cape province. The partnership centres on improving sport, education and conservation within communities.

The vision is to promote the development of a new generation of rider with an environmental conscience. The programme will train young eco-heroes and ambassadors to become nature aware and to promote positive behaviour change within their communities.

This objective links with each organisation’s individual mission. By working together, Qhubeka, Anna Foundation and the Cape Leopard Trust believe they can exponentially increase their impact and efficacy, while at the same time creating improved mobility in communities with the added benefit of a low carbon footprint.

A united effort

Anna Foundation’s mandate is to promote life skills and care for the natural environment, which ultimately underpins human well-being, while the Cape Leopard’s Trust seeks to protect leopards and the fragile eco-systems upon which they depend through scientific research and environmental education. Qhubeka aims to connect people and communities with bicycles, thereby improving their mobility and access to opportunity.

Anna Foundation, based in Stellenbosch, offers an after-school programme to vulnerable children in the Winelands living on farms and attending local rural schools. “Using cycling as a catalyst and incentive to expand on our 3Rs theme of Reading, Running, Righting will help us to reach more children and more communities,” says Anna Brom, founding director of the Anna Foundation.

“It will be an amazing opportunity for us to find a way to inspire communities who live on the front line of leopard activity, and encourage participation in much needed environmental law enforcement, as well as biodiversity monitoring,” says Helen Turnbull, CEO of the Cape Leopard Trust.

“The Cape Leopard Trust and Anna Foundation’s work to further education and conservation in communities complements Qhubeka’s objective of connecting people with bicycles, which are an environmentally friendly form of transport,” says Qhubeka’s Regional Manager, Ian Mills. “Bicycles can also help people to physically access education facilities. It’s a privilege and a pleasure to support these two new partners with bicycles in the work they are doing. We also look toward longer term sustainability in the Western Cape through opportunities for creating economic opportunities through bike building and maintenance.”

Each of the Absa Cape Epic charities has a three-year relationship with the event and have agreed to an initial 12-month partnership. Qhubeka has further agreed to supply 50 bicycles into the new programme.

The collaboration will leave a positive legacy, not just for cycling, but for the people and the leopards in and around the communities it touches throughout the annual Absa Cape Epic event.

The Anna Foundation offers after school programmes to children living in rural communities. Our “3 R’s Programme: Reading, Running, Right-ing” is implemented after school hours and involves education, sports and life skills lessons (Right-ing referring to ‘right living’).  This is a professionally designed programme aimed at learners from Grade R to 12 (ages 5 – 18). Children attending the after-school do so voluntarily and are required to participate in all three areas of the programme. Women from the rural communities are trained as 3 R’s facilitators. They work with the children on a daily basis, implementing the 3 R’s Programme. They are trained and skilled by staff from the Anna Foundation on a weekly basis. Parent workshops are offered to provide community members and caregivers with skills to support their children in the home.

The Cape Leopard Trust (CLT) was founded in 2004 and has several active leopard focused research projects in the Cape region of South Africa as well as an environmental education and outreach programme. The rare Cape mountain leopard is used as a Flagship and Umbrella species, to highlight broader environmental issues. Since its inception, the Cape Leopard Trust has become the authority on predator conservation in the Cape, and one of the leading authorities in SA. The cyclists involved in the Absa Cape Epic cycle across fynbos leopard territory, and as such, the Cape leopard is a fantastic brand ambassador for the event. Though the leopard may seem unimportant, the fact that this cat has survived in the Cape mountains against all odds, identifies with the extreme courage and determination required to complete the world renowned ‘untamed’ mountain bike race.

Qhubeka uses bicycles to move communities forward. We partner with the community, public sector, private sector, and non-profit organisations (in the Western Cape we are forging stronger collaboration with BEN and PPA) to develop programmes, which focus on providing people with bicycles in return for working to improve their community, environment or school attendance. Find out more at www.qhubeka.org.