By Olimatou Coker
Czech Bikes for Gambian Schools has donated more than 7,000 bicycles to schools in LRR and CRR, according to its founder Baboucarr Touray.
He said these donations started since 2013.
Touray was speaking Friday as his Foundation presented another set of bikes at least 500 to the Ministry of Bsic and Secondary Education.
The bikes are for distribution to nine more schools in the LRR and CRR respectively.
“For me, this initiative is a very good opportunity.
I was never fortunate enough to undergo a schooling program during my [childhood] time.
So helping these students achieve their goals cannot be over emphasized,” Touray stated.
He said one factor for the stretching of the Foundation’s muscle to rural Gambia was the poor performance of students at schools.
“…Students from those [rural] areas come out with aggregate 26 as the highest score, while those from the Kombo’s have aggregate 6. This is why we decided to expand the bicycle programme.”
He opined that if education is the key to every success, then it is important rural children too are afforded the opportunity and access to quality learning just like their urban peers.
He went on to speak at length giving a detailed background of how Czech Bikes for Gambian Schools was conceptualised.
Silveste Tkac, project coordinator of the Foundation, said they were also able to expand a number of schools as part of their project.
“…We like to focus on sustainability in the schools and so we make sure that we donate a single bicycle, the bicycle will be used.
We don’t want the bicycles to be stored.
That’s why we also provide tools and other spare parts,” Tkac explained.
Speaking further on sustainability, he said 20 are currently being trained on basic maintenance in a bid to make sure the bikes remain in good conditions.
Edward C Mansal, director general of Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI), said he passed through the difficulties confronting rural students today, telling the audience ‘he who feels it knows it’.
“I am talking from experience,” he said, “having lived in the rural community.
I used to trek about 5km every day to go to school.”
He said because Czech Bikes for Gambian Schools is supporting a noble cause, the GTTI entered into an MoU with it.
Other speakers were Roman Posolda and Bakary Ceesay, Region 6 director.