The Gift of a Bike

This Lent we are supporting teachers in getting to school and women farmers getting to the market.

In South Sudan, generations have not had the chance to go to school.  Adults are attending the equivalent of our Junior & Senior Infant Primary Classes, it being their first chance to get an education. Even teachers have had limited chances to upskill and gain a qualification for their role. Half of the teachers in South Sudan haven’t even finished secondary school, let alone had the chance to go to teacher training college.

Teaching as a profession, is not something most aspire to in South Sudan. Government pay is very low, and it’s common to go 3 or 4 months without any pay at all. Classrooms are packed with eager students and resources to teach them are little.

South Sudan is in the midst of a child rights crisis. This April and May, it will be seeing its worst humanitarian crisis in its 13-year history, as the newest country in the world. Our  schools are keeping many children from starving. The majority of our students report that they often don’t have any food at home, and rely completely on the porridge that is served at school.

Our teachers walk up to 10km to get to school, leaving their homes when it is dark and unsafe. In Cueibet, our teacher trainers from Mazzolari Teacher Training College travel on the weekends to Abiriu  and Cuecok, to upskills teachers who are teaching Mon-Fri in schools, but have had no formal training. The weekends are their only chance to upskill.

In Akol Jal, our teachers have long and unsafKenyae distances to travel, in order to reach St Peter Faber Primary School. This is a place that is so unsafe, men aren’t willing to sleep there at night, and walk into Rumbek town to sleep. Cycling gives the teachers a chance to leave in the morning when the sun rises, so as to make the journey a little safer.

One of our secondary schools, Victor-Luke Memorial Secondary School needs bicycles for their teachers to get to school, so that they are not walking to school in the dark.

As World Bike Day approaches on the 3rd June, we aim to provide teachers in some of the most challenging rural areas, a means to travel to school.  Our Jesuit schools in Ireland are getting involved, raising €1 for every 1km cycled to school. Our Jesuit social centres in Ireland are clocking up their odometers in their offices. With every €150 raised, a bicycle will be bought locally for a teacher or woman farmer overseas.

We aim to reach 15,000km in order to provide bikes for teachers in South Sudan, social workers in Kenya, radio journalists in Tanzania and female farmers in Malawi. If you would like to join our odometer, raising €1 for every 1km you cycle, please contact us on [email protected] or register below. 


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