A bicycle is a tool that helps people to travel faster and further, to generate income and to carry more. In the face of extreme and persistent poverty, bicycles can change lives by helping to address socioeconomic challenges at the most basic level – helping people to get where they need to go.
Johannesburg, South Africa – City of Johannesburg (CoJ) is a long-term Qhubeka partner in the Gauteng region. This month, 1050 bicycles will be distributed to schoolchildren and community policing volunteers at three different events around Johannesburg.
The breakdown of bicycles being distributed is as follows:
- Orlando Community Policing Forum (CPF): 50 bicycles
- Bona Comprehensive School: 300 bicycles
- Selelekela Secondary School: 200 bicycles
- Orlando High School: 150 bicycles
- Jabulile Secondary School: 350 bicycles
Qhubeka corporate partners and fundraisers work to match the funds made available by CoJ to double the number of bicycles that can be distributed. With 50% of the bicycle funding for these 1050 bicycles coming from CoJ, the remaining funds have been raised by Qhubeka’s grassroots donors and fundraisers, Parks Cycling Club (PCC), Illovo Cycling Group, Barry Crouch and friends, Alison Gayler, Jeandre Fourie and friends, and the group of 2018 Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge campaign riders who chose to race for Qhubeka.
“Since the start of our relationship with the City of Joburg, we have distributed more than 3000 bicycles together,” says Qhubeka Executive Director Tsatsi Phaweni.
“Over 2500 of them have gone to schoolchildren in learn-to-earn programmes, helping them to get to and from school more easily and regularly. More than 500 have been distributed to the Community Policing Forum (CPF) volunteers to help them patrol more effectively and to improve visible policing, and the remainder has been distributed to healthcare workers and other community service volunteers and people in Qhubeka craft programmes who have worked to earn them. It’s wonderful to see the range of people who are changing their lives with bicycles, thanks to the support of our partners like the City of Joburg.”
Gaylene Campbell, Events Manager at Qhubeka, issued a special thank you to the Telkom 947 riders and supporters who helped to fund the bicycles for distribution in May.
“It’s fantastic to see the commitment to supporting Qhubeka grow within the cycling community, and we’re looking forward to an even bigger fundraising year this year,” she says, “It’s great to have such a big bicycle-related fundraising event in Gauteng, which is a Qhubeka SHIFT region.”
A SHIFT is a Qhubeka bicycle project that aims to distribute 5 000 bicycles into a specific geographic area for five years, with the aim of helping to SHIFT the entire community forward.
Alison Gayler helped to raise funds through her printed Codec tea towels for Qhubeka with data from the Grand tour cycling events, and in 2018 has funded an astounding 55 bicycles. “The fans have been amazing buying the tea towels, some sending extra donations too,” she says. “Even had my neighbour’s grandchildren save all their pennies for a year to add to the fund!”
Another interesting fundraising campaign for Qhubeka that helped to fund the May bicycle distributions is “Everesting”, which is where a cyclist chooses a hill of his / her choice and rides it repeatedly in a single ride until ascending the equivalent height of Mt. Everest above sea level – 8,848m.
Two groups of people did the Everesting challenge to raise funds for Qhubeka: Jeandre Fourie and friends (John-Michael Du Preez and Jerrard Le Roux) and Barry Crouch and friends.
“As an avid endurance participant, the concept of Everesting has always grabbed my attention as something that stands out,” says Fourie.
“I am not particularly good at climbing, but really wanted to find something that would test me physically and mentally. I knew that a good friend of mine, Kevin Benkenstein had done a lot of charity work around his Everestings and that, as he would say when you have a “WHY” the how will take care of itself. This was the first time I had ever thought about something more than the goal itself, and it really changed my view on so many things. I was shocked at how many people supported both financially and at the event itself and that the goal of getting more kids on bikes really became a driving force.”
Qhubeka is thankful to all supporters and partners for making it possible to change more lives with bicycles.