On the night before the Tour de France began, each of the Team Dimension Data riders received a special gift from Qhubeka as a symbol of our gratitude for the fundraising work they’ve done, and to remind them that riding bicycles can change lives.
Each rider received a box that contained the story of child who has received a bicycle. They also were given a bracelet with the child’s name as a reminder of that child’s story.
Mark Cavendish, who won the first stage of the 2016 TdF, was riding for Koketso.
Here’s her story, which was in the box he received:
Hello Mark, my name is Koketso. I am 13 years old and I got my bicycle in the first term. I used to walk one hour to school every day. I used to have to get up at 5h30 and now I get to sleep in for an extra 30 minutes. It now takes me 45 minutes to get to school. I stop along the route to join friends so that we cycle together for safety.
I love everything about my new bicycle! I love cycling. I want to take it up as a sport. We are starting a cycling club at the school. With my bicycle, I can visit a lot of places I have never seen before, like Mandela Bridge and Mandela House. My late coming to school has now stopped and I am on time every time. There is a need for many more bicycles because a lot of children are walking and students are coming late.My friends and family are so excited that I got a bicycle, but they want me to be careful on the roads.
I heard you are called a missile! I hope you ride really fast and win. Thank you for riding for me and the other children.
Throughout 2015 and 2016, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka have been riding to inspire their fans to fund bicycles for people in Africa. In November 2015, the current team had a chance to distribute bicycles to recipients in Cape Town and meet some of the people whose lives will be changed by these bikes. Since then, hundreds of people have received bicycles in South Africa funded through the team’s #BicyclesChangeLives campaign.
Qhubeka uses the funds raised through #BicyclesChangeLives to fund bicycles for recipients in their work-to-earn programmes. Through long-term partnerships with Qhubeka’s implementation partners, people are able to earn bicycles through programmes in return for activities like bartering recyclable waste, cultivating indigenous trees, or improving academic performance. A bicycle mechanic is also trained for each community in which 500 or more bicycles are delivered, creating new economic opportunities.
Qhubeka is part of World Bicycle Relief, a global non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing education, health and economic opportunities by providing simple, sustainable transportation through The Power of Bicycles®. Since 2005, World Bicycle Relief has delivered over 275,000 bicycles to developing countries.
Image credits: Jered Gruber/Ashley Gruber