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Bicycles donated to Calitzdorp learners to reduce drop-out rate at schools

On Friday, Calitzdorp High School received 201 bicycles, bringing the number of donated bicycles in the region to 600. Picture: Supplied

On Friday, Calitzdorp High School received 201 bicycles, bringing the number of donated bicycles in the region to 600. Picture: Supplied

Published May 9, 2022

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Cape Town - Calitzdorp learners, who usually walk to school, are being equipped with bicycles.

Braai and cycle enthusiast, and Calitzdorp resident, Jan Scannell, better known as Jan Braai, with Ninety One client director and friend Nic Alberts, identified the need for bicycles and reached out to non-profit organisation Qhubeka.

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In 2015, Scannell and Ninety One (then Investec Asset Management) assisted in getting the town’s high school learners bicycles from Qhubeka, which donates bicycles in order to improve access to schools, clinics and jobs.

On Friday, Calitzdorp High School received 201 bicycles, bringing the number of donated bicycles in the region to 600.

Scannell said: “In rural South Africa, many people spend a lot of time walking, often children to school. Donating bicycles to high school children would not only reduce travel time but also improve academic outcomes, as children can give more time to school work.”

The University of Cape Town’s Children’s Institute said 67% of children in South Africa walk to school.

Alberts said: “We all know that in SA we have a tremendous amount of inequality, and without reducing the inequality it’s going to be more difficult to unite people around common interests and passions.”

The campaign is supported by Ninety One, AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society, the Professional Provident Society (PPS), and Alexforbes.

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A permanent bicycle mechanic will be stationed in Calitzdorp.

Calitzdorp High School principal, Andrew Davids, said that since the start of the project, the school’s dropout rate had declined from 7.5% to 0%, and the matric pass rate had increased from 72% to 84%.

Local schools, Gamka-Oos Primary School, Excelsior Primary School, and Calitzdorp High School received pico solar lights from Namene Solar Light Company to improve conditions for home study.

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Gamka-Oos Primary School principal, Abraham Ludick, said about 90% of the school’s learners had limited or no access to electricity. “This creates problems across the board,” he said.

In addition to this, the Gamka Oos Primary School library is being upgraded by the Bookery, a non-governmental organisation focused on improving literacy.

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