Rotary Ireland are celebrating reaching their target of collecting 2000 bikes from across Ireland which are set to be donated to children in Africa.
The project - which was established in Lisburn’s Rotary Club - pulls most of the 73 Rotary Clubs in Ireland together and this week sees the team of dedicated humanitarians celebrate their hoped for target of dispatching the 2000th bike from Ireland before Christmas 2016.
Rotarians from across the country, North, South, East and West have tirelessly worked together to facilitate the collection and refurbishment of unwanted bikes which are then delivered to JOLE RIDER, a charity which distributes them to schools in West Africa.
Trevor Stewart, from Lisburn Rotary Club was instrumental in setting up the project in Ireland is delighted to reach such a momentous number of bikes;
He said: “We have been blown away by the support for this wonderful project not only from Rotarians in Ireland but also those people who have sought us out and donated their bikes to what we truly believe is an amazing cause.
“Our ongoing relationship with the JOLE RIDER Bikes 4 Africa Project means that over 2000 young people living in extreme conditions now have access to education.
“Children living in rural Africa can have as much as a 20 mile round trip walk to attend their closest school but, with two wheels, they can arrive fresh and ready to learn, rather than being totally exhausted.
“I’d like to express my thanks to all those who have helped us to reach this impressive figure by donating either their old bikes or indeed their time and effort.”
Partnering with Loughan House Open Centre, an open low security prison in County Cavan, Rotary Ireland are also helping to make a difference locally by playing an important role in the rehabilitation of prisoners who are soon to be released back into society;
Governor Eddie Mullins, says the project has given the prisoners a real sense of community and something to be proud of as they help to make a positive impact on the lives of the young people in Africa.
He said: “At Loughan House we aim to offer a number of activities that will help to rehabilitate our prisoners and provide them with skills that will be useful when they are reintroduced to society, the project provides them with the expertise to become bicycle engineers and to even gain a City and Guilds Qualification which we are confident many can use to make a better life upon their release.”