On Thursday 24 October 2013, Qhubeka and World Vision launched the Bicycle Education Empowerment Programme (BEEP) in South Africa, with the handover of the first 250 bicycles to the children of the Mbekweni community in Paarl in the Western Cape.
Of the 16 million children in school in South Africa, 12 million walk to school. Of these, 500 000 walk more than two hours each way, spending four hours getting to school and back each day. Over 50% of each day is spent in walking to meet basic survival needs and access economic and social opportunities in rural South Africa, and only 40% of South African students achieve a qualification higher than grade 9. Through BEEP, Qhubeka and World Vision hopes to improve the attendance and subsequent academic performance of these vulnerable children.
BEEP was successfully launched by World Vision Zambia and Qhubeka partner, World Bicycle Relief in 2009, and an impact study conducted in December 2012 among girls showed an attendance increase of 28% and overall academic improvement of 59%. Furthermore, 89% of children who had received a bicycle through the programme could get to school in an hour or less.
In South Africa, BEEP will roll out the bicycles to children over 10 years old and will endeavour to offer the following benefits:
Improve attendance and performance of vulnerable children in community and government schools
Improve livelihoods of bicycle beneficiaries and their families
Improve safety and security of students traveling to and from school
The next 500 bicycles will be handed over to children from the Orange Farm community in Johannesburg on 15 November 2013.
To find out more about the launch of BEEP, visit the Qhubeka website. If you’d like to find out about attending a handover, email firstname.lastname@example.org.