March 8 is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme at World Bicycle Relief is “Make it Happen.” Qhubeka is World Bicycle Relief’s programme in South Africa, so join us in celebrating Women in Motion who prove that bicycles change lives!
Lindiwe earned her Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycle through a waste-collecting programme in uMgungundlovu in KwaZulu-Natal, implemented by Wildlands Conservation Trust. She is raising her grandson as her daughter has passed away and says she will give the bicycle to him. “My grandson has always wanted a bike, but I have not been able to buy one for him due to financial constraints. He will be very happy to own a bike because most of his friends have them. This pleases me as my grandson does not have a mother anymore so he looks up to me for everything,” she says.
In 2009, Loveness was walking nearly nine kilometres to and from school – a trip that would take two hours each way. Her Buffalo Bicycle cut her commute in half, enabling her to continue her education and go on to complete twelfth grade. Now, her dream of becoming a nurse is within reach, and she’s saving her money to pay for classes. “I always want to be helping people,” she says.
Widowed in 2010, 68-year-old Georgina needed to support herself by working her 21-acre farm in Zambia – difficult work under the best circumstances. Her three cows produce milk twice a day, and she needed a reliable, strong bike to carry the milk from her farm to the Palabana Collection center 12km away. Since purchasing her first Buffalo Bicycle in 2011, she has never once failed to deliver milk to the collection center twice a day, 365 days a year. “I want to tell women, especially the widows, you must keep going. When my husband passed away, I thought it was the end for me. But I knew I must keep going, so I started my business.” Click to Tweet this.
Four-time Ironman World Champion and multiple world-record-holder Chrissie Wellington is a driving force for change in women’s sports. Now retired, Chrissie leads a children’s running event series in the UK, and was instrumental in a successful campaign for La Course – a women’s pro cycling race taking place at the 2015 Tour de France. She is an active supporter of WBR. “Like WBR, I truly believe that bicycles can be a huge force for good: creating opportunities, building bridges, empowering people and communities, and truly catalyzing positive change.”
Professional mountain biker Ines Thoma spreads the word about the Power of Bicycles everywhere she goes. The 2014 German Enduro Champion was inspired to ride not only for her team, but to help others who can better their lives with a bike after hearing about WBR. “Last year, I did a Christmas campaign, knitting wool hats and selling them with proceeds going to WBR.” For now, she’s living her dream traveling the world with her Enduro bike, and hopes one day to be a schoolteacher.
Explorer/adventurer Kate Leeming has cycled the equivalent of twice around the world – including a ten-month, 22,040km journey across Africa to explore the causes and effects of extreme poverty and emphasizing the positive: how to offer a leg up rather than a hand out. There, she was able to witness WBR’s work firsthand. “WBR bicycles are simple, robust machines, built for the needs and conditions faced by the end-user, enabling them a practical, low-cost means to increase productivity and opportunities to lead healthier and more prosperous lives.”
Changemaker Paula Restrepo strives to make a better world. The economist and avid cyclist is part of a public/private partnership between WBR and Postobón, one of Colombia’s largest beverage companies and long-time sponsor of Colombian cycling. Wanting to add a program where the bicycle was used for a social purpose, Postobón is distributing up to 1660 Buffalo Bicycles this year to rural students. “Education is key to development. Our goal is to improve the quality of education by reducing desertion so that students have better opportunities. Being able to provide students with the Buffalo Bicycle is a dream come true.”