Two new drop-off points for Rotary Ireland’s School Bikes Africa initiative were launched last week.
Carlow Rotary, in association with Carlow County Council, are now collecting unwanted bikes which are then sent to schoolchildren in The Gambia to help them with getting to school and enjoying a better education.
A launch event was heled at the Powerstown Civic Amenity Site in Carlow.
Similarly, another collection point was established at the West Kerry Recycling Centre in Dingle. This is the result of a partnership between the Tralee and Killarney Rotary clubs in conjunction with Kerry County Council.
There are now five drop-off points established across Ireland for the School Bikes Africa project.
Rotary Ireland has been focused on the bike project for more than six years. And in that time, more than 5,000 bikes have been collected and sent to Africa having been collected by Rotary clubs from across the Emerald Isle.
The Irish Prison Service have been involved with the project from the outset. They established a Bike Shed at the Loughan House Open Centre, a low security detention centre at Blacklion in County Cavan.
It is here where the bikes are refurbished. Prisoners working in the bike shed not only develop technical skills to refurbish the bikes, but their personal contribution is a means to improved motivation and has a positive influence on their self-esteem.
Life is difficult for a child in Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa.
The early life of a child faces multiple health issues from trying to survive malaria to having a balanced diet. Families are large and children are often sent to live with relatives.
Children have to work hard, often having to farm before and after school, sell at the market or manually work in the home to help make ends meet for the family.
Education suffers especially for children from rural areas whose families depend on farming for a living.
Many children have to walk a long distance to school, some over five kilometres, often without adequate food or water.
A typical journey could take at least 90 minutes with children arriving late and tired for school.
Having to walk such long distances in hot sunshine to school and face the return journey at 2pm in the afternoon, when the sun is at its hottest, is not conducive to students regularly attending school.
Old bikes give new lives to families in Africa. An unused bike stored away in a garage could be life-changing for a student in The Gambia.”
Having a bike to cycle to school makes a huge difference for a student.
Students tend to be more attentive at school having not had to walk a long distance. And they look after the bikes which tend to last them for many years.
In Africa, the advantage of bike ownership in a family can enhance life immeasurably and can significantly improve their lives through access to education, work and essential services.
Having a bike is a huge status symbol for a student and they are so proud of the bikes they receive.
In Africa, the advantage of bike ownership in a family can enhance life immeasurably and can significantly improve their lives through access to education, work and essential services.”
Rotary Ireland are now sending bikes directly to the Gambia all that is required is that the wheel size be a minimum of 24 inches in diameter.
Old bikes give new lives to families in Africa. An unused bike stored away in a garage could be life-changing for a student in The Gambia.
A full list of all available drop off points can be found on the Rotary Ireland website.