In a collaborative effort to bring positive change to the community of Barkly West, the ABSA Wildeklawer Qhubeka partnership has delivered 300 purpose-built commuter bicycles to the deserving recipients at High School Vaalrivier. This delivery took place on 18 August 2022. The distribution of bicycles marks a significant milestone in improving mobility, education, and overall well-being for the community.
Cassie Carstens, spokesperson for Wildeklawer, says the selection of beneficiaries was carefully conducted by the Bicycle Supervisory Committee, comprising representatives from the Wildeklawer Sports Academy, the Dikgatlong Municipality and local high schools. Prior to the distribution event, all recipients underwent comprehensive training in bicycle proficiency, rules of the road and basic bicycle maintenance. To ensure the sustainability of the initiative, two community members were trained as Bicycle Mechanics.
Engagement sessions were held with various stakeholders, including the Mayor’s Office, the Premier’s Office and the South African Police Service (SAP), generating widespread support for the project. Beneficiaries and their parents were required to sign contracts acknowledging their responsibility for the bicycles, promoting a sense of ownership and accountability.
On the day of the distribution, guests and excited beneficiaries gathered at the stadium, where the 300 bicycles were prominently displayed. Distinguished speakers emphasised the importance of safety, particularly the necessity of wearing helmets. Each beneficiary received an accessory bag containing a helmet, bicycle pump, puncture repair kit, spare tubes, and other essentials.
The atmosphere was filled with anticipation and enthusiasm as the community embraced the transformative power of this initiative. Dr. Thomas September, the Regional Segment Head for the Central Region of Absa Relationship Banking, expressed the significance of equipping children with quality education and providing them with a solid foundation in light of the current economic pressures and rising unemployment rates in South Africa. The provision of bicycles enables easier access to schools, reducing travel time and increasing productivity, engagement, and academic performance.
Qhubeka, a global charity focused on providing bicycles to individuals in Africa, played a pivotal role in making this project a reality. Through various programs, Qhubeka empowers people by improving their access to education, healthcare facilities, and employment opportunities. With the unwavering support of the community, the Wildeklawer Academy, and the investment from Absa Bank, Qhubeka aims to continue delivering bicycles to transform lives within the Barkly West community.
The allocation of bicycles encompassed several impactful programs, including the scholar mobility programme, which facilitates schoolchildren’s transportation, leading to improved attendance and academic performance. The sports programme enables children and their coaches to conveniently access school and sports activities, promoting health and saving valuable time. The health programme provides bicycles to healthcare workers, enabling them to reach more patients and communities efficiently, improving access to vital healthcare and social services. Additionally, the Community Safety Programme utilises bicycles for enhanced security patrols, promoting visibility and effectiveness and fostering a safer environment for all residents.
The ABSA Wildeklawer Qhubeka Collaboration has set in motion a wave of positive change in Barkly West, offering hope, empowerment, and improved opportunities for the community. As the bicycles find their place within the lives of the recipients, they bring the promise of a brighter future and a more connected and prosperous community.