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Qhubeka and the #KnysnaFires

Friday, 16 June 2017 08:52 Written by  Jan Rossouw
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There was much excitement earlier in the week when 50 Qhubeka bicycles as well as handmade blankets, scarves and beanies arrived in Knysna to assist with relief efforts following the devastating fires.

Qhubeka is an organization that helps people move forward and progress by giving bicycles through structured programmes in return for work done to improve communities, the environment or academic results. Having a bicycle changes lives by increasing the distance people can travel, what they can carry, where they can go and how fast they can get there.

Bicycle transportation multiplies an individual’s efficiency. Compared to walking, bicycles increase carrying capacity and accessible travel distance while decreasing the time it takes to commute to and from schools, clinics and markets.

Qhubeka has sent 50 bicycles to Knysna to assist first responders, the people who arrive to provide immediate disaster relief and other emergency services. We have been encouraged by how South Africans have pulled together to assist those affected by the fires, and are confident these bicycles will play a helpful role in the greater disaster relief efforts.

Qhubeka has also donated blankets, scarves and beanies crocheted by women in their “Blankets for Bicycles” programme, and they know these brightly coloured, handmade blankets will not only provide warmth to their recipients, but a sense of comfort during these difficult times.

In early 2017, Qhubeka started a new programme at the Marico Rural Development Project in rural North West called Blankets for Bicycles. Women in the Groot Marico area have the opportunity to earn a bicycle by crocheting two blankets, two scarves and a beanie. It is heart warming to witness how a programme in the North West is assisting with relief efforts in Knysna.

Qhubeka is an Nguni word that means “to carry on”, “to progress”, “to move forward”, which is exactly what we are doing following the fires. Qhubeka is excited and committed to implement sustainable and structured programmes in the larger Knysna and Garden Route area to improve communities, the environment or academic results. There are many positive opportunities to be capitalised upon following the fires.

FAST FACTS
• More than 54 000 bicycles have been distributed by Qhubeka since 2005
• A child’s commute time to school is reduced by up to 75% with a bicycle
• A bicycle increases a person’s carrying capacity by five times
• Healthcare workers can visit more than double the amount of patients per day with a bicycle
• Marks improve by an average of 25% for children who ride a bicycle to school
• Schools where children ride bicycles see attendance rates rise by 18% on average

For more information please visit their website at www.qhubeka.org or contact Jan Rossouw on 082 809-9249

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