Can you remember the day you received your first bicycle? 

This is good news story of South Africa and bicycles... where dreams of a better education exist but the odds against you is enormous.

Imagine Living in a community where you have to get up every morning and walk to school for more than an hour. After a tiring day you have to walk another hour home in the heat of the afternoon sun. When arriving home you have to walk another half an hour to fetch water because you do not have running water where you live. After doing some homework you have to start collecting fire wood to cook food. This is just the tip of the iceberg. 

This scenario exists in deep rural South Africa in the Blouberg area of Limpopo where children have dreams….dreams of a better education.

These kids have one big obstacle, they have to walk more than 2 hours to school and back….everyday… leading to frequent absenteeism, exhaustion and often a complete withdrawal from school.

Now imagine you live in a community where the chance of getting a bicycle is zero. Can you remember the day you received your first bicycle? 

Suddenly somebody come to you and give you a bicycle that changes your whole life.

The ERP team from EPI-USE travelled 500 kilometers on 29 April 2016 to the town of My Darling and handed over 86 bicycles to learners of 3 schools in the Blouberg area.

The 86 bicycles had to be transported to My Darling and assembled on site.

172 tires had to be pumped.

The learners enter into a “STUDY TO OWN” contract. If they use the bicycle to get to school for 2 years, the bicycle becomes theirs.

As part of the project one community member in Blouberg will be trained to maintain and fix the bicycles. A local community member is thus enabled to start his own business and improve his own life. A committee has been established consisting of local tribal leaders and teachers to monitor the school attendance and academic progress of these learners. The ERP team will follow the progress on a monthly basis to establish a case study to assist in future allocation of bicycles.

 Late president Nelson Mandela said that access to quality education is essential to ending the cycle of disease and poverty in Africa. The extend of the problem: Only 40% of South African students achieve a qualification higher than Grade 9, and half of children who enroll in Grade 1 will never pass Grade 12.

With this project children can now travel 4 times faster to school. They can cycle to water points to collect water and concentrate on their studies. 

These young people can now complete their education, preparing them for better jobs and thus reducing the likelihood of extreme poverty.

Thanks to corporate sponsors like EPI-USE, Volkswagen Amarok, Bronko Tool hire and Advendurance the ERP team can initiate these kinds of initiatives. Projects like these are dependent on corporate sponsors to alleviate poverty and enabling communities to help themselves.

From a child’s point of view “Mobilize me and I will change my world”.

Christelle Pretorius