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GIVE UP YOUR OLD BIKES FOR A “WHEELY” GREAT CAUSE

Do you have an old bike just sitting in your garden shed that can donated for repair and reuse? Rotary Carlow, in partnership with Carlow County Council, are calling on all across the community of Carlow to get involved in the School Bikes for Africa project and make a significant difference in a child’s life by enhancing their access to education.
Life is difficult for a child in Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa. Children have to work hard, often having to manually work in the farm before and after school or sell at the market to help make ends meet for the family. Education suffers especially for children from rural areas whose families depend on farming for a living. Many children have to walk a long distance to school, some over 10 km, often without adequate food or water. Having to walk such long distances in hot sunshine to school and face the return journey at 2 pm in the afternoon when the sun is at its hottest is not conducive to students regularly attending school. Having a bike to cycle to school makes a huge difference for a child in Gambia Africa. It is seen as a huge status symbol for a student. They are so proud of the bikes they receive and look after them so well that they tend to last them for many years. In Africa the advantage of bike ownership in a family can enhance life immeasurably and can significantly improve their lives through access to education, work and essential services.
For over 6 years Rotary Ireland has collected bikes and sent them to schools in Africa. In the intervening years over 5000 bikes have been collected by Rotary Clubs across Ireland. This year, Rotary Carlow in Partnership with Carlow County Council are bringing the scheme to Carlow.
“We are delighted to partner with Carlow County Council on this project” Says Sinéad McAuliffe Present of Rotary Carlow. We are calling for the community of Carlow to donate their unwanted bikes at Powerstown Civic Amenity Site on the Kilkenny Road. Rotary arranges for them to be brought to Loughnan House and Shelton Abbey open Prisons where the inmates refurbish the bikes before they are transported to Africa where they have a significant impact on the lives of many young people.” She adds. This is a win, win, win project, a win for Climate through repair and re-use and promoting sustainable transport, a win for Inmates by providing training and rehabilitation and a win for Children by providing better chance for education” she concludes.

“As UN Sustainable Development Goal Champions, we are delighted to be involved in a project that works towards achieving a wide range of the Goals objectives. Says Mary Wash, Manager of the Powerstown facility. “This project, funded under the National Anti-Dumping initiative, is a fantastic example of the reuse ethos that is vital to support a sustainable environment for all. There are some guidelines that we were given in relation to the type of bikes that are needed.
• Bikes need to be strong so that they can withstand rough terrain
• Bikes are needed for suit both primary and secondary students
• Minimum 24”-wheel size can be accepted
• Bikes should be in reasonable condition and need to have only small repairs carried out to make them roadworthy.”
Now it’s over to you, the people of Carlow. Do you have bikes in your shed that are never used but you’ve always thought they are too good to just ‘dump’? There might be spare bikes in your home later in the year when a shiny set of wheels arrive due to a Birthday ?
Please consider taking your unwanted bikes to the container at Powerstown Civic Amenity Site giving them a second life with the School Bikes for Africa appeal.

For further information please email jobrien@carlowcoco.ie or environment@carlowcoco.ie

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