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By Ntombi Shilubane ​

Orlando Communal Hall was filled to the brim with happy faces when more than 100 learners became proud owners of brand new bicycles courtesy of the City of Joburg, Dimension Data and not-for-profit organisation Qhubeka.

The excited recipients walk scores of kilometres to and fro school and the new bicycles will come in handy.

“Today’s distribution is special because we have such a wide range of people receiving bicycles,” says Tsatsi Phaweni, Qhubeka’s Executive Director.

A total of 108 bicycles were distributed amongst learners, YMCA volunteers and members of the local Community Policing Forum in order to improve the beneficiaries’ access to schools, work and clinics.

“They will all benefit from them in different ways. School children from Selelekela High School and Orlando High School will be able to get to school more quickly. The CPF will be able to patrol more effectively, thus boosting security in the area,” says Phaweni.

“YMCA volunteers will be able to travel more easily and carry more supplies when doing their voluntary work. It’s a great example of the many ways that bicycles can help to change and improve people’s lives. We’re grateful to our partners and fundraisers for helping to make this bicycle distribution a possibility.”

The ongoing initiative has distributed over 78 376 bicycles over the years in different communities around the City of Joburg.  The bikes were primarily donated to learners and were funded by Dimension Data, Qhubeka’s fundraisers who took part in the Telkom 947 cycle challenge in 2016 and the City of Johannesburg.

Ruth Rowan, Group Marketing Executive, Dimension Data, says it is immensely proud of its partnership with Qhubeka.

“The work that they do is inspiring, and it resonates so strongly with our employees across the globe. We truly believe that a pair of wheels can make a world of difference, and it’s such a privilege to witness it firsthand on a day like today,” says Rowan.

The community of Orlando has been identified by the city as a region that will benefit from the bicycles because of the newly constructed cycle lanes in Soweto.

A local mechanic who previously received a Qhubeka bicycle and training in bicycle maintenance will help with the maintaining the bicycles. This will help to ensure that the bicycles are well maintained and remain useable well into the future.