More than a 1000 schoolchildren, as well as CPFs in Bergville, KZN, received Blue Bikes from Volkswagen SA and Qhubeka. The bicycle donation forms part of an initiative with Qhubeka, through which it has donated over 3 600 bicycles over the past five years.
Statistics show that over 11 million of South Africa’s 17 million school children are still walking to school. While walking to school is not necessarily a bad thing, in many rural areas children sometimes walk up to 20km each way. Bicycles will obviously help to get them there more quickly, and give them a sense of independence as well as time for themselves.
“Volkswagen is all about ‘moving people forward’ and we are thrilled to be able to play our part in helping these learners progress. But we recognise that it’s about more than just a bicycle. In fact, it goes far beyond transport. For these children, the gift of a bicycle means more time to dream, to grow, to succeed, to aspire, to shine. And more time to be a child,” said Andile Dlamini, Head of Communications, Volkswagen Group South Africa.
Dlamini sites a typical example of one of the recipients; “Sixteen-year old from Ubulinga Secondary School in Bergville. Nokwazi wakes up at 4H30am, goes to collect and boil water for her and her two siblings, takes a bath, dishes up food for everyone to eat, then starts the commute to school. What used to take her an hour on foot, now only takes 15 minutes on her bicycle. This means that Nokwazi has an extra hour and a half added to every day – time she can now spend studying and playing.
“Nokwazi’s story is the norm for so many children in South Africa, and it is saddening. Kids should be kids! They should go to school with full tummies and sharp, rested brains to learn, then go home with plenty of time to do their homework, to play, to explore and to dream”, says comedian Celeste Ntuli.
“Too many children have had to take on adult responsibilities, and while those issues and family dynamics are harder to solve, we can still do something to help them along the way.”
Ntuli joined for the latest distribution of the bicycles and recently went to visit Bergville to meet some of the bicycle recipients.
We wish these children good luck as they wheel their way into a better future!
Watch the video here: