In rural South Africa, the youth may be in need of numerous commodities, but one thing they do not lack is ambition and hope. They know who, what and where they want to be. It is the beauty of South Africans. We dream. However, what they do need is a little help getting there. Blue Bikes is the first step in fulfilling this need. Volkswagen believes that education is the foundation for our future and that a child’s learning should not be hindered by their lack of mobility.
With 11 million of SA’s 17 million school children still walking to school, taking some of them up to four hours a day to travel to and from school, the need for transport is palpable. Over the past three years, Volkswagen and Qhubeka have donated almost 3,000 Blue Bikes to children across South Africa to give them the priceless gift of time. Volkswagen believes that less time traveling to school means more time to learn, more time to play, more time with family and simply, and probably most powerful, the time to just be a child.
This year Volkswagen, together with Qhubeka, has committed once more to mobilise the youth for a better future. In May, 300 Blue Bikes were donated in Bergville, KZN and will be distributing a total of 1,100 bicycles in 2017. The project will roll out across the year and can be supported by visiting Qhubeka's donation page here.
An ambitious goal. A brave challenge. An inspirational journey begins.
Having seen a new found passion for cycling in six promising school kids from Bergville who received bicycles through the BEEP project and who won the local Bergville cycling race, Volkswagen are taking their commitment a step further this year. With a support team in place Volkswagen will be supporting these six youngsters on a brave and challenging journey on ‘the road to 947’.
“Volkswagen’s vision is to provide sustainable mobility for Africa through German Engineering and a South African heart and this programme fits in with that philosophy and shows our human side,” said Thomas Schaefer Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa. “We also hope that through having been beneficiaries of a bicycle and their performance in the Bergville Cycle Race that this will leave a lasting impression in the minds of a handful of young South Africans’ and hopefully inspire more to dream big,” added Schaefer.
Completing the world’s second-largest timed cycle race (after the Cape Argus) is no small feat for any cyclist. For a team of novice children to even attempt such an ambitious race is an inspiring achievement. It will require great courage, speedy acquision of skills, and personal strength. Volkswagen is not taking their responsibility in this endeavor lightly either.
“A trait we want to leave indelibly with the six promising kids, and those they inspire, is that achieving anything worthwhile comes with preparation and hard work, and with that in mind we have engaged a local coach from the Ladysmith area, Mr Thabete, to give our promising young cyclists the best chance possible of competing at the highest level in the 947 cycle challenge,” commented Meredith Kelly Marketing Communications Manager of Volkswagen South Africa. “Over the course of the next few months we will be following their training and preparation as they get to grips with their new equipment, attend specialist cycling camps and compete in races leading up to the 947 Cycle challenge in November,” completes Kelly.
To assist with skills and fitness training Volkswagen have brought in local cycling coach Nhlanhla Thabethe in order to help prepare the team on this daunting but exciting journey. Training sustenance, new gear, maintenance education and pre-event races are just a few of the preparation elements the kids are receiving as they prepare for the final challenge.
The adventure for these six school kids began when they won the Bergville Cycle Race in their local community. In celebration of their achievement, Volkswagen took them on a two-day trip to Durban to spectate the Tour D’Urban cycle race and to meet a few of South Africa’s best cyclists for a boost of inspiration. Here a dream began and it signaled the first step on the road to a once in a lifetime opportunity for these children. View their heart warming trip highlights here. To follow their journey keep and eye on the Volkswagen SA YouTube Channel and Facebook Page.
To watch the story of one of the bike handovers from 2016 - click here