Trust hands out 500 bicycles to Dambuza school pupils

2010-01-26 00:00

PUPILS from primary schools around the Edendale area might not have had school yesterday, but the joy of owning a bicycle for the first time proved a worthy disruption for many of them.

The Dambuza Community Development Trust (Damcom) handed out 500 brand-new bicycles to pupils from 10 primary schools in the area.

Parents and teachers had to contend with excited and fidgety pupils, who could hardly sit still as they waited for Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande, who was there in his capacity as a patron of Dambuza.

When the truck carrying their bicycles made its way to the packed Dambuza sports grounds, boys and girls alike started running around and dancing in jubilation.

Damcom chairman Mandla Mthethwa, who is a principal in the area, said most of the children who benefited are orphans. He added that the gifts are not meant to be an early Christmas present because they should have been delivered in December during the school holidays.

“The majority of these children are either orphans or come from poor families. As Damcom, we are trying to cultivate a culture of teaching and learning by encouraging parents through these interactions to take children to school.

“It was not our intention for them to miss school, but unfortunately the bicycles were not fully assembled at that time and could only be available now. And we asked the department for today to be treated as one of the skills development days.”

Mthethwa said the bicycles will enable the children to learn a new skill and be used by children who live far from school.

“I have spoken to principals to provide a safe place for the learners to park their bikes. But we are also trying to get the department of Transport to come in and teach the children about road safety.”

He said that talks are under way with the municipality to build tracks where the children can ride at weekends so that they don’t race with cars.

Nzimande said that initiatives like the bicycle project are necessary to rebuild communities, so that people are encouraged to meet government halfway.

He warned would-be thieves that they will be hunted down if they mess with the children’s bicycles. He urged the children to pay for their gifts by becoming educated.

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