Sgt Paul Donohoe bring bikes to the Dunmore recycling centre for the ‘Bikes for Africa’ appeal and is pictured with Jimmy Connolly, President and Jason Dempsey, Rotary PICTURE: PAT MOORE
A worthy project that brings bicycles to school children in Africa will be able to help many more thanks to a grant of €10,000 towards the work.
Working closely with Kilkenny County Council, Kilkenny Rotary launched its Bikes for Africa campaign before Christmas, and to date almost 200 bicycles have been collected and sent for refurbishment prior to being despatched to school children in Gambia.
At Monday’s meeting of Rotary Kilkenny it was announced that Kilkenny County Council have secured €10,000 to support the School Bikes for Africa Project under the national Anti-Dumping Initiative Fund.
Eamon Morrissey, from the Council’s Environment Department, who represented Kilkenny County Council said: “The council is very pleased to be involved in this project with Kilkenny Rotary Club. As a result of this partnership, we applied for funding from the national Anti-Dumping Initiative Fund 2019 to cover the cost of approximately 600 bikes to be repaired and shipped to the Gambia. The funding has been approved, and we hope to take this example to a national level with other Local Authorities and Rotary clubs throughout Ireland.”
President elect of Kilkenny Roatary, Jason Dempsey, said “This project is a perfect example of how you can get things done by working with willing partners, such as Kilkenny County Council, the army personnel from James Stephens’ Barracks and the staff at Dunmore Recycling Centre.
“This level of financial assistance is fantastic and will ensure that an extra two container loads will go to the Gambia this year to the school children over there.”
People in and around Kilkenny are encouraged to drop off their unwanted bicycles to the Dunmore Recycling Centre where they are stored until soldiers from James Stephens’ Barracks deliver them to Loughan House Open Prison in County Cavan.
There the bikes are refurbished before their onward journey to Gambia, where children use them to shorten their journeys to school every day.
Bikes are still wanted – please ensure that they are sturdy bikes (not road race bikes), and in fairly good condition. They can be dropped at Dunmore Recycling Centre free of charge.The response to the project has been great, and in February the first container-load of bikes left Kilkenny.
School Bikes for Africa forwards them to people for who this simple mode of transport can transform their daily lives.
Children in Africa often have to travel 10km or more to get to school and back in a day. Walking in the extreme heat can be difficult, leaves the students tired and unable to perform to the best of their abilities.
In Africa owning a bike sees school attendance rise by 28%, and a massive 59% improvement in grades.