Caritas Gambia distributes 300 bicycles to schools

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The Catholic Development Office (Caritas Gambia) through their partner the Rotary Ireland last week distributed 300 bicycles to 13 schools in the West Coast Region (WCR) and the Greater Banjul Area.

The Caritas Gambia was established on January 1st 2001 as the development unit of the Catholic Diocese of Banjul registered as a charitable, non-profit organization.

Speaking at the presentation held last week at the Caritas office in Westfield, Dr Darrol Tommy, the Board Chairman of Caritas Gambia said education is a way forward and historically the Catholic Diocese is credited for providing sustainable education to a cross section of the Gambian people irrespective of race, creed or social standing. 

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Saying children are the future of every nation and the provision of bicycles to needy but deserving students contributes to making a difference. When children are educated, they lead healthier lives that are more productive.

Dr Tommy said Sustainable Development Goal 4 is about quality education and is among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in September 2015. Empowering Gambian students with mobility to access quality education is critical in our national drive to achieve this goal.

”In The Gambia, the Catholic Diocese has championed the right to education for all  generations, and the partnership between ROTARY IRELAND and CaDO is to contribute to a Gambia where every child has access to a life-changing education. With an education, a child is far more likely to become an adult with higher skills, better paid, and more secure employment. Educated children have a greater chance of reaching their potential, breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty, and helping their community prosper. Unfortunately, children are often denied their basic right to an education by factors beyond their control, such as poverty, gender, disability—and geography,” he said.

According to him, since 2018, Rotary Ireland has mobilized over 1,370 bicycles to enable Gambian students, especially girls, to access education. With a bicycle, children and their families are empowered, and education becomes a priority.

He said the biggest barrier to education for those students living in rural areas may be the distance to get to school, expressing hope that with this bicycles, students’ attendance increases and children’s commute time can be reduced by up to 75%, this translates into an increase in academic performance and bicycles help children attend school regularly and arrive better rested.

As with every machine, the Bicycles require regular maintenance and occasional access to spare parts to keep them rolling over the rugged terrain. We call on schools and parents to ensure the bicycles keep rolling.