Rotarians from Cookstown have been instrumental in helping Rotary Ireland celebrate reaching their target of collecting 2000 bikes from across Ireland which have been donated and refurbished and are now set to be distributed to children in Africa in desperate need of better access to education.
Rotarians from across the country, North, South, East and West have tirelessly worked together to facilitate the collection and refurbishment of unwanted bikes which are then delivered to JOLE RIDER, a charity which distributes them to schools in West Africa. The project which has been ongoing for 5 years, was established in Lisburn’s Rotary Club and pulls most of the 73 Rotary Clubs in Ireland together and this week sees the team of dedicated humanitarians celebrate their hoped for target of dispatching the 2000 th bike from Ireland before Christmas 2016.
Trevor Stewart, from Lisburn Rotary Club was instrumental in setting up the project in Ireland is delighted to reach such a momentous number of bikes: “We have been blown away by the support for this wonderful project not only from Rotarians in Ireland but also those people who have sought us out and donated their bikes to what we truly believe is an amazing cause. Our ongoing relationship with the JOLE RIDER Bikes 4 Africa Project means that over 2000 young people living in extreme conditions now have access to education.
“Children living in rural Africa can have as much as a 20 mile round trip walk to attend their closest school but, with two wheels, they can arrive fresh and ready to learn, rather than being totally exhausted. I’d like to express my thanks to all those who have helped us to reach this impressive figure by donating either their old bikes or indeed their time and effort.”
CEO and joint founder of JOLE RIDER, David Swettenham has expressed his congratulations and thanks to all those who have made a difference in Africa: “Over time, we have seen and heard at first hand in Africa the impact the Bikes 4 Africa programme has on school students in terms of their education and their future prospects. Importantly of course, the loan of a bicycle by a school makes an immediate positive impact for each student lucky enough to be awarded one. The real value however comes later. Improved access to school over time brings the result of higher academic achievement.”