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Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka meets Kylemore learners

Categories: COMPANY NEWS , Social & Community, Sport
A big day for 158 people in Kylemore in Western Cape province. Tthey will also take ownership of their brand new Qhubeka bicycles

This distribution will see 100 grade 6 and 7 learners at PC Peterson Primary School receiving bicycles, as well as 47 grade 11s from Kylemore Secondary, eight Wildlands staff and three Kylemore  Secondary staff. These learners and staff members are part of a Qhubeka project called SHIFT Education, run in partnership with Wildlands. Other parties involved include the Stellenbosch Municipality, the Western Cape Department of Transport and local bicycle shop, BMT, which has been providing safety and maintenance support.

It's a big day for 158 people in Kylemore in South Africa’s Western Cape province. Not only are they getting to meet the professional cyclists from Africa’s first World Tour team, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, but they will also take ownership of their brand new Qhubeka bicycles, which they have earned by committing to growing indigenous trees as well as  improving their school attendance and performance.
 
The bicycles being distributed today have been funded through the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka campaign, #BicyclesChangeLives, which aimed to raise funding for 5 000 Qhubeka bicycles in 2015, and again in 2016. The team’s sponsors have also assisted in contributing towards this target. To date, 10 500 bicycles have been funded through the #BicyclesChangeLives campaign since its launch for distribution into work-to-earn Qhubeka projects around South Africa and in Eritrea.
 
The Kylemore SHIFT Education project aims to connect learners with bicycles, thereby helping them to access school, the library, shops, health clinics and opportunities more easily. Within the community, 253 learners have already received bicycles and a bicycle mechanic is currently being identified for training and accreditation, with the aim of helping learners to maintain their bicycles well into the future. Qhubeka hopes to entrench a cycling culture into the community, where bicycles have previously been scarce.
 
“Who knows – there may be some future Team Dimension Data riders getting their first bicycle here today,” says Qhubeka Executive Sarah Phaweni. “We believe that bicycles change lives and connect people with opportunities, and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is proof of this. With access to a bicycle comes access to opportunities and we are grateful to the team and all its sponsors, as well as Wildlands and local government, for recognising this and working with us to connect more people with bicycles. We believe our SHIFT programmes help us to move communities forward, which speaks to our name, Qhubeka, which is an Nguni word meaning “to progress”. Bicycles have the ability to shift individuals, communities and our country, and we hope everyone attending this bicycle distribution today gets a sense of that.”
 
“These bicycles have contributed significantly to the environmental sustainability and socio-economic development of this community, not only through providing an eco-efficient form of transport, but also by providing a safe way for the learners and community members alike to travel to work and school. Wildlands recognises that this would not have been possible without the partnership with Qhubeka,” says Wildlands’ Project Manager, Lydia Williams. “Thanks to Qhubeka for helping us move towards our vision of a Sustainable future for all.”
 
By the end of 2017, Qhubeka hopes to have distributed 3 000 bicycles in the Dwarsriver valley which includes Kylemore, Pniel and Lanquedoc. The historically disadvantaged region remains afflicted by poverty and lack of transport, and while there are many projects underway to empower and uplift the Kylemore community, Qhubeka believes that bicycles are a cost-efficient, environmentally friendly transport solution.
 
Qhubeka and Wildlands have partnered successfully for many years around tree-growing initiatives, whereby people (known as “Tree-preneurs”) grow indigenous treesto barter for bicycles or other livelihood support items. The Kylemore SHIFT Education programme sees this partnership extending into schools, with learners also committing to improved attendance.
 
Tyler Farrar, one of the riders at Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, says that the bicycle distribution is a unique experience. “It is a chance for us all to see the result of the charity’s work and to put everything we talk about into action,” he says.
 
Well known South African rider Reinardt Janse van Rensburg at Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka adds, “We don’t get the chance to do bike handovers ourselves very often due to our season’s schedules, so to do a distribution with the full team and to see what impact Qhubeka’s work has in the communities is a special experience.”

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