Bicycle Program Boosts Education in Klein Karoo

What began as a local initiative in 2015 by Calitzdorp’s Jan Scanell, also known as Jan Braai, and his friend Nicolaas Alberts, Sales Director at Ninety One, has evolved into a significant corporate-social partnership. This collaboration includes Ninety One, AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society, Professional Provident Society (PPS), and Alexforbes, and extends beyond Calitzdorp to the broader Klein Karoo region.

Impressive Educational Outcomes

Initially, the partnership aimed to address the challenge of local learners who had to walk long distances to school. With the help of Qhubeka, a charity providing bicycles across Africa, they began distributing bicycles to students. Now in its fifth year, this initiative has led to remarkable improvements at Calitzdorp High School. The dropout rate has decreased from 4% to 0%, and the matric pass rate has soared from 61% to 87%.

Expanding Impact

The collaboration has widened its scope, involving community stakeholders like Community Chest in Calitzdorp and PACT in Prince Albert, and expanded to include Ladismith, Zoar, and Prince Albert. Recent developments in the partnership include the opening of a bicycle parts and repair centre at Calitzdorp High School managed by ex-student Keenen Rabie, and the expansion of the scholar mobility program to Ladismith Secondary School and soon to Prince Albert.

Additionally, the partnership has introduced Namene solar lights in schools to mitigate the effects of loadshedding, enhancing study conditions and learner health. Moreover, the top matriculant from each of the three high schools will receive a bursary worth R150,000, emphasizing the commitment to rewarding excellence and encouraging academic achievement.

Previous contributions from the partners include the donation of 632 bicycles, the installation of solar power systems in school administration blocks, the opening of a Container Library, the distribution of over 1,300 solar lights, and the provision of laptops to university students from Calitzdorp. Eye tests and necessary spectacles were also provided to enhance the educational environment for all learners involved.