Fantastic Carlow initiative to support children in Africa

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Fantastic Carlow initiative to support children in Africa

Rotary Carlow is calling on the public to support the School Bikes for Africa project

Do you have an old bike just sitting in your garden shed that can be donated for repair and reuse? 

Rotary Carlow, in partnership with Carlow County Council, is calling on the public to get involved in the School Bikes for Africa project and make a significant difference in a child’s life by enhancing their access to education.

Life is difficult for a child in Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa. Children have to work hard, often having to manually work in the farm before and after school or sell at the market to help make ends meet for the family.  

Education suffers, especially for children from rural areas whose families depend on farming for a living. Many children have to walk a long distance to school, some over 10 km, often without adequate food or water. Having to walk such long distances in hot sunshine to school and face the return journey at 2pm in the afternoon when the sun is at its hottest is not conducive to students regularly attending school. 

Having a bike to cycle to school makes a huge difference for a child in Gambia, Africa. It is seen as  a huge status symbol for a student. They are so proud of the bikes they receive and look after them so well that they tend to last them for many years. 

In Africa the advantage of bike ownership in a family can enhance life immeasurably and can significantly improve their lives through access to education, work and essential services.

For over six years, Rotary Ireland has collected bikes and sent them to schools in Africa. In the intervening years over 5,000 bikes have been collected by Rotary Clubs across Ireland. 

Rotary Carlow, in partnership with Carlow County Council, is bringing the scheme to Carlow this year. “We are delighted to partner with Carlow County Council on this project,” says Rotary Carlow president Sinéad McAuliffe.

“We are calling for the community of Carlow to donate their unwanted bikes at Powerstown Civic Amenity Site on the Kilkenny Road. Rotary arranges for them to be brought to Loughnan House and Shelton Abbey open prisons, where the inmates refurbish the bikes before they are transported to Africa and have a significant impact on the lives of many young people.” 

Powerstown Civic Amenity Site manager Mary Wash says: “As UN Sustainable Development Goal champions, we are delighted to be involved in a project that works towards achieving a wide range of the Goals objectives. This project, funded under the national Anti-Dumping Initiative, is a fantastic example of the reuse ethos that is vital to support a sustainable environment for all.”

Bikes need to be strong so that they can withstand rough terrain, bikes are needed to suit both primary and secondary students, wheel sizes of a minimum 24 inch can be accepted, and bikes should be in reasonable condition and need to have only small repairs carried out to make them roadworthy.

Bikes can be dropped off at the Powerstown Civic Amenity Site from Tuesday to Friday 8.30am to 3pm and on Saturday 8.30am until 12 noon.

For further information, email jobrien@carlowcoco.ie or environment@carlowcoco.ie.