Bikes for Education

The documentary:

On the Way to School” declares its importance from its opening title card. “Too often we forget how lucky we are to go to school,” it says. To illustrate this point, the movie trails children from three continents on what, in most cases, are their daily journeys “toward knowledge.” As they set off, we are given the distance and the duration of their travels.

In Kenya, Jackson and his sister must avoid elephants on what is described in the film as more than a nine-mile journey that takes two hours. (“We have to go that way today,” he instructs her.) In Morocco, Zahira treks through the Atlas Mountains for about 13 ½ miles and four hours. In India, Samuel is pushed in a wheelchair by his brothers for over two miles and an hour and 15 minutes. In Argentina, Carlito and his sister ride through scenic Patagonian vistas on a horse, a trip that covers 11 miles and an hour and a half.

Samuel and his brothers
Samuel and his brothers


Of the 17 million children in South Africa, 11 million walk to school. Only 40% of South African students achieve a qualification higher than Grade 9, and half of children who enroll in Grade 1 will never pass Grade 12. 1 out of 4 girls in developing countries are not in school and 38% marry before the age of 18. Some schoolchildren spend four hours getting to school and back daily.

Of students walking to school, half a million in South Africa walk for more than an hour– up to 6km each way– thus impacting concentration and learning ability. Over 60% of students who walk to school in South Africa are in the lowest income group and rural students (8.1%) are more likely than urban (3%) or metropolitan (2.7%) students to walk more than 60 minutes to school. The challenge of distance results in increased tardiness, frequent absenteeism, exhaustion and often the complete withdrawal of the child from the education system.




Qhubeka distributes bicycles to students, teachers and school volunteers to improve access to education, reduce travel time and improve educational outcomes. Students earn bicycles through study-to-own contracts. In the short term, bicycles reduce children’s exhaustion from walking to school and help them attend regularly. In the long term, bicycles will help children complete their education, preparing them for better jobs and reducing likelihood of extreme poverty.




Key program outcomes include:

  • Increased attendance of vulnerable children
  • Improved performance
  • Improved retention
  • Better livelihoods of bicycle beneficiaries and their families
  • Improved safety and security of students traveling from and to school

The cost of one bicycle for this program in South Africa is R2,850.00 and includes: component manufacturing, shipping, duty, tax, assembly, delivery, helmets, field visits, field mechanic training, monitoring and evaluation.



Before she owned a bicycle 15-year-old Ethel walked more than two hours across hilly terrain each day to attend school. With a bike, her commute now takes 45 minutes. She’s happy to arrive at school on time to pursue her goal of becoming a nurse. In addition to setting an example as a successful student, Ethel has mobilized her community by using her bicycle to transport fellow classmates to school.


If you would like to donate a bicycle to our Bicycle Education Empowerment Programme through our secure donations portal, Given Gain click here.







how will you tell your children about terrorist attacks

  • After mass tragedies, parents struggle with what to tell their children.

Immediately after the horrific Paris attacks, so many parents took to social media asking this question: What do I tell my kids? How can I talk to them about something so senseless and indiscriminate? About something that we can’t make sense of it ourselves? “As parents, we are lost,” a mom of two young children, who lives in Paris, told CNN.

  • Parenting experts say the age and temperament of a child is a key factor in the decision. The age of children and their temperament really determines what and how much to share.

5 years and younger children: need not be told about what happened or be exposed to any of the media coverage; it is good to limit the media exposure for this age group.

6 to 11 years children: need to be told just the basic facts and minimal exposure to media coverage. Studies have found that children who have had repeated and prolonged exposure to media images had more difficulty with anxiety than children with less exposure.

In the recent attack on Paris, the people who took to the streets expressed, “We will not be afraid, when our children can sense that courage in us, they too will not be afraid”. Parents ought to be role models for their children to follow.

12 to 15 years teens: need to know the facts and here too minimal exposure to media coverage. Parents should be mindful of any changes in their children’s behaviour and try to make them express what they are feeling. Many things may happen as a result of tragedy; children may be unable to go to school, separated from parents or friends, may have to relocate, there may be loss of life, loss of finances and property. This can result in emotional and mental overload, for which parents have to be sensitive to deal with, on a regular basis, until the children are stable enough to face the situation.

  • Reassurance is one of the most important things a parent must provide.
  • Firstly, parents themselves must get strong emotionally and mentally before reaching out to their children, if not to get support from other adults before convincing their children.
  • Reassure the children that they are in a safe and secure place, and not to be fearful and dread what is going to happen. Show love and affection to them.
  • Comfort them by letting them know that everything is going to be alright and that right now they need to trust in God to help them cope with the situation, so that they are able to support each other as a family, and be able to extend support to others as well, bringing hope to them .
  • Reassurance is faith, and so parents ought to clarify to the children that they don’t know why such bad things happen to innocent people, and they don’t have all the answers to such atrocities that happen in the world. But to let the children/teens know that they can stand for morality, righteousness, value for life and living, and be determined to bring about a change for a safer world.
  • Finally to pray with the children for peace upon that situation, comfort for all the broken hearted and for their own lives as well, justice to the perpetrators, and the God of peace will soon bring forth that which they seek.