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Bicycles mobilise Soweto schoolkids
Dimension Data, in partnership with the City of Joburg and Qhubeka, have given 317 bicycles to schoolchildren in Orlando, Soweto, to help combat the frequent absenteeism and exhaustion experienced by learners walking to school in this area.
The first batch of 60 bicycles was delivered to Selelekela Secondary School.
Dimension Data is the headline sponsor of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, Africa’s first World Tour cycling team, currently competing at the 2016 Tour de France (TdF). The team has had enormous success at this year’s TdF, with Mark Cavendish starting the event off by winning the first stage, Steve Cummings taking an impressive solo win in stage seven, and achieving five stage wins to date.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka rides to raise awareness for Qhubeka and aims to fund 5 000 bicycles this year through its #BicyclesChangeLives campaign.
“When we race, we’re not just riding to win – we’re riding to change the lives of schoolchildren in Africa by mobilising them with bicycles,” says Cavendish. “We’re all competitive people by nature, but I believe that riding for a greater purpose gives Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and extra level of motivation.”
Cummings agrees: “I’m so grateful for the opportunities we get in Team Dimension Data – not just to compete at the highest levels of this sport, but to change lives while we’re doing it. I hope that people are really starting to understand that we are racing to put students on bikes with Qhubeka. It just makes everything that much more special for us and has put the team on a high.”
Dimension Data has been a long-term supporter of Qhubeka and as the sponsor of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, the company is helping to drive the #BicyclesChangeLives campaign.
“It is fantastic to see how the success of this team is connecting fans to our purpose of racing to make an impact that matters in communities, through bicycle distributions like this one in Soweto,” says team principal Doug Ryder. “Our riders and partners are truly behind our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign too. The impact is making a huge difference.”
“We are very proud to be able to accelerate education by donating these bicycles to the schoolchildren of Selekelele High School, especially just after celebrating International Mandela Day. The former President was a passionate advocate of education and believed that it is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world,” says Grant Bodley, CEO of Dimension Data Middle East and Africa.
Qhubeka executive director Sarah Phaweni, says that the organisation is thankful to everyone involved in making this distribution possible.
“Having partners like Dimension Data and City of Joburg working with us allows us continue to mobilise more and more people with bicycles,” she says. “We can see their passion for moving people forward, which is our goal. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka have also been wonderful in spreading our message and raising funds, particularly through their Tour de France achievements.”
Learners are required to meet certain qualifying criteria to be able to receive a Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycle, which is a robust bicycle engineered specifically for African terrain and load requirements. Learners selected for the programme will also be supported with bike safety and maintenance training.
The City of Joburg has built dedicated cycling paths in Orlando, stretching over 5km and in close proximity to the schools that will be receiving the sponsorship. The cycling paths provide a safer way for children to cycle to school.
Qhubeka is World Bicycle Relief’s programme in South Africa. World Bicycle Relief is a global non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing education, health and economic opportunities by providing simple, sustainable transportation. Since Qhubeka’s founding in 2005, it has delivered more than 58 000 specially-designed, locally-assembled bicycles to people across South Africa.