- The Bishops Diocesan College school community raised R261 000 in a 24-hour cycle challenge in aid of Vusa, a rugby and learning academy in Langa.
- The cycle challenge lasted from 16:00 on Tuesday, 15 June to 16:00 on Wednesday, 16 June.
- More than 80 teams of up to six took turns cycling.
The Bishops Diocesan College school community raised R261 000 on Youth Day in aid of Vusa, a rugby and learning academy in Langa, by completing a gruelling 24-hour cycle challenge.
The theme for Youth Day 2021 was "Youth Power: Growing South Africa together in the period of Covid-19".
The 24-hour cycle challenge lasted from 16:00 on Tuesday, 15 June to 16:00 on Wednesday, 16 June. More than 80 teams of up to six took turns doing the indoor cycling at the Mallet Centre in Rondebosch.
The participants in the fundraiser were members of the Bishops Diocesan College first, second and third rugby teams, as well as staff and pupils.
The excited teams were captained by ex-Bishops rugby internationals, including Oli Kebble, Christian Stewart, Rob Fleck, Stuart Abbott, Nick Koster, JJ Gagiano, Mike Fox, Dasch Barber and Francois Louw, who offered encouragement and support to the boys as they pedalled away.
Coaches from the Vusa academy visited three early childhood development centres in Langa daily to support numeracy and literacy development through play and a new mobile library programme, which launched in April.
"They provide positive mentorship to our Vusa children. Our coaches and teachers reside in the Langa community," Vusa executive director Brendan Fogarty said.
Each afternoon, coaches offer primary school pupils in the community a structured after-school programme that includes rugby training and access to extra academic lessons, computer facilities, exposing them to recreational activities and providing them with a hot meal.
A team of coaches also participated in the 24-hour cycle challenge to raise money for the children they mentor and coach.
Vusa is a registered NPO established more than 20 years ago by Fogarty – a Bishops Prep teacher – to address the lack of sport at disadvantaged schools. It began as a part-time rugby programme but developed as more needs were identified.
Tony Reeler, principal of Bishops Diocesan College, said he was "impressed" by his pupils.
"Their willingness to get involved in this very worthy activity on this public holiday (Youth Day), and particularly as the boys have just completed their exams," Reeler added.
Some of the many challenges faced by the youth of Langa include mental and physical health issues, addiction, homelessness, crime and the breakdown of families. These are often attributed to deficiencies in early childhood, leading to inactive citizens and the perpetuation of the poverty cycle.
- Access to sports,
- Academic support in Maths and English,
- Recreational outings,
- A daily hot meal.
"We appreciate the support we receive from the Bishops community. Giving back and supporting the youth of this country is what we should all be rallying behind," Makabongwe Kahla, Vusa's programme manager, said.