Jole Rider - bikes4Africa
Many African children live in remote communities, a long way from their nearest school and without reliable, affordable, motorised transport getting to school for them means walking in searing heat for heat for hours over rough terrain and arriving late and exhausted; a huge barrier to their education.
With African governments not having money to build more schools, or provide fleets of school buses, bikes are a simple, low-cost, low-tech solution to the problem. bikes4Africa is the flagship programme of the the charity Joel Rider and aims to refurbish and deliver to Africa second-hand bikes for children and young people enabling them to reach their potential.
In 2011 jole rider's founding Director, David Swettenham, spoke to the Club about the charity and how RIBI Clubs are participating with them. Photo shows President Adrian with David Swettenham and co Director Helen King.
Almost everyone has one or more unused bikes in their garage or shed. Matched with the money to ship them (£10.00), they can change a child’s life permanently! Every bike delivered not only gets a child to school, but affects the lives of as many as 9 others, including school peers and family members.
The Club in April 2012 has initiated the collection of bikes to be sent to Africa. Full Collection details can be found here.
The first container of bicycles was delivered in April 2006 to three schools making an immediate impact on the lives of more than 300 children and on 29 February 2012 the 10,000th bike was shipped! This has recently been delivered to a school in The Gambia.
They have changed lives as they can now:
- get to school
- arrive on time not late
- begin the day alert not exhausted
- arrive home earlier
- reach higher academic achievement
- help families more at home
- stay safe by travelling in daylight
Bikes are refurbished with the help of HM Prison Services and on arrival in Africa are allocated by teachers to those children who need them most. They are then passed on when any child leaves school. The project is self sustaining as training is given locally to repair bikes and spare parts are available for purchase.
Supported by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, bikes4Africa was founded in 2006 by Directors David Swettenham and Helen King. David was planning to ride with his son from John O'Groats to Lands End (Jole) in 2004 but could not identify a suitable charity to support. Hearing that bikes were needed by children in Africa they went out to investigate in the Gambia and became aware of the childrens' dire need and the major barrier to their education with the resulting impact on their families and the economy.
The video below gives further details and includes an interview with the TV journalist and presenter Jon Snow. Click on image to view.