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Rewardsco & Qhubeka Help South Africans “To Move Forward”

Bicycles can – and do – change lives. The National Household Travel Survey, conducted in 2020 in collaboration with the Department of Transport, showed that walking was the main mode of travel for around 10.1 million learners to get to school because of the high cost or unavailability of public transport, especially in rural areas. This is why Rewardsco’s group commercial director Dylan Koen is once again representing the special partnership between his company and global charity, Qhubeka, during this week’s gruelling Absa Cape Epic mountain biking challenge.

 

Qhubeka, which means “to move forward”, runs programmes that provide underprivileged people with bicycles to improve access to schools, clinics and jobs. With a bicycle, a person can travel faster and further, and generate an income. In the face of extreme and persistent poverty, bicycles can transform lives by helping to address socioeconomic challenges at the most basic level – by helping people to get where they need to go and connect with those with whom they need to associate.

 

When asked about why he was drawn to helping this proudly South African charity to raise funds for bicycles, Koen replied that there was a definite synergy between Qhubeka and Rewardsco – both connected people and changed lives. He added: “What they do just resonated with me personally. They build bicycles that are then donated to underprivileged communities. In the context of the community, it is a workhorse that takes kids to school, collects water and books. I mean, it’s a source of transportation and more. These bicycles enable both adults and children to travel to work and school and to overcome the challenges of not having suitable transport to reach clinics. Bicycles also enable people to reach places that would otherwise be out of reach after natural disasters such as the recent flooding that we experienced in our country.” 2020 marked the beginning of an epic journey on many different levels. “We did so incredibly well in the first one, getting over R180,000 donated,” he says.

 

Despite challenges brought on by the pandemic, Koen decided to undertake the Absa Cape Epic again in 2021 and ended up raising another R95,000. “Even though we could have ridden through a normal entry, we chose to do it again with Qhubeka because it feels quite special to be part of this amazing community,” he explains. He is hoping to achieve even more the third time around, with a minimum goal of R100,000.   If someone is going to partner with a charity, there certainly has to be an easier way to raise money than riding the ABSA Cape Epic? Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing sports the world over, presenting massive obstacles to both rider and bicycle, with the ABSA Cape Epic featuring amongst the most challenging in this extreme sport. This annual mountain bike race attracts riders from countries across the globe, with media coverage spanning Europe, America, Asia, the Middle East and the African continent. The 2023 event will see riders cycling 658 kilometres over 8 days and traversing approximately 15 775 metres of uphill terrain.

 

Passionate about cycling and the challenges of mountain biking in particular, Koen believes it’s a privilege to be able to use something that is special to him to help others. “Being able to raise money for a charity which donates bicycles to underprivileged communities is itself a privilege, right? Sometimes, when you get to do these things, you don’t only do it for yourself but for others that are less fortunate than yourself. It does make some of the harder moments a little bit more palatable, bearable. It gives you a different context and makes you really, really dig deep,” he admits.

 

Feedback from those who have received bicycles through Qhubeka is that riding them has been a life changer, not only improving health and fitness but also by making sure that they get to school on time. “My bicycle helps me to get at school on time so I that I am able to attend all morning classes and I am able to achieve my goals”, says, Kgosietsile, a beneficiary of Qhubeka. “My bicycle has changed my life because I used to be late for school but now, I get there on time. My life is now easier.” Another beneficiary, Oratile, is just as grateful. “What I admire about my bicycle is that it is so enjoyable to ride and it is making me to be on time at school. My bicycle helps me when I am down, and it lifts my mood. It can make me happy when I am sad,” she says. Carol adds: “I now have plenty of time to study, do my homework and home chores on time. Because I have plenty of time to study, I am able to do more research about school activities and pay more attention to my schoolwork as much as possible, ensuring that I obtain more marks. This bicycle has changed my life a lot and has made it easier for me to live better. I would like to say that we admire your diligence for changing not only my life but also my fellow learners and the community as a whole. We are exhilarated and also thankful.”

 

For learner, Rebaone, having a bicycle helps to get from Point A to Point B more quickly and easily. By getting to school earlier, he has more time for his studies. “Everyone in my community wishes to be me, especially children. I’ve become an inspiration to them, seeing me always on time. These bicycles are really helpful. Now we are able to manage our time and do so much more, and for that I would like to thank you,” says Rebaone.

 

If you want to join Team Rewardsco in raising funds for Qhubeka to purchase, build and distribute as many bicycles as possible to the underprivileged people of South Africa, please support them by visiting www.qhubeka.org and making a donation. We believe in Qhubeka’s vision of helping South Africa “to move forward” because, when it comes to helping those in need, there’s no distance too great and no mountain too high.

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- Dylan Koen
 Rewardsco Sales Commercial Director

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