Two organisations, one focusing on cycling and one on youth development, have joined forces to improve their community services.
Qhubeka is an offshoot of World Bicycle Relief, a global non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing education, health and economic opportunities by providing simple, sustainable transportation. It has teamed up with LoveLife, an organisation promoting youth leadership, on the Groundbreaker Mobility Project.
The aims of the project are to enhance the implementation of community programmes through mobility, improved fitness and wellness of LoveLife volunteers, known as groundbreakers and mpintshis. It helps them by saving on travel costs and creating economic opportunities through mechanic training. In addition, the project aims to improve school attendance and academic performance of those mpintshis who are still at school.
Qhubeka is an Nguni word that means to “to carry on”, “to progress”, or “to move forward”.
Since World Bicycle Relief was founded in 2005, it has delivered more than 275 000 specially designed, locally assembled Buffalo bicycles to people in need.
In terms of the new programme LoveLife youth volunteers will receive Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles. The first bicycles will be distributed in July 2016.
This will help the LoveLife groundbreakers and mpintshis to implement community programmes more effectively and efficiently as they will be able to travel to the various communities in which they work, faster and more easily.
It uses a youth development approach that addresses various social challenges, including gender-based violence, access to opportunity, alcohol and drug abuse, unplanned pregnancy, HIV and Aids, school drop-out, and social and structural factors that contribute to risky behaviour by young people.
LoveLife programmes are implemented by a national youth volunteer service corps known as groundbreakers. Its Groundbreaker Programme equips young people, through voluntary service, with the skills and motivation they need to continually give back to their communities, improve themselves and those around them.
Its Mpintshi Programme is a leadership development programme for in- and out-of-school youth who want to develop their ability to guide others on a course of constructive action. Together, the groundbreakers and mpintshis play an important leadership role in their communities, furthering social change.
“For every 16 kilometres travelled, a bicycle saves three hours of valuable time,” said Qhubeka executive director Sarah Phaweni. “Over the same period of time, youth volunteers riding bicycles can travel four times the distance than if they were walking.
“We believe that through the increased mobility of LoveLife groundbreakers and mpintshis, there will be an increased impact in the communities in which they work. This speaks to Qhubeka’s commitment to helping people move forward and progress with bicycles, and we are thrilled to be partnering with LoveLife on this initiative.”
Her words were echoed by Nomxolisi Malope-Rwodzi, the senior manager of games and schools at LoveLife. “A bicycle in the hands of a LoveLife youth volunteer means more time to implement LoveLife’s healthy sexuality, positive lifestyle and skills development programmes,” said Malope-Rwodzi.
“This, in turn, means groundbreakers and mpintshis can reach more youth in the communities we serve, which tremendously improves our ability to create better futures for many more young people in South Africa.”
WHAT IT ENTAILS
The Groundbreaker Mobility Project requires the groundbreakers and mpintshis to sign a contract making the bicycle their personal property once they complete their respective programmes in return for their work in implementing LoveLife programmes.
The groundbreakers who complete the programme will also be trained as bicycle mechanics, providing economic opportunities and ensuring that bicycles are well maintained.
Those who receive the bicycles are also required to pay a nominal amount towards their local youth centre’s bicycle maintenance costs. This funds the stipend for the local mechanic and purchase of spare parts.
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