6 March 2018
The #Riding4SAeducation campaign hosted by Salaamedia and Salaam Foundation recently ended with an exciting mountain bike race in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg.
The effort this year brought several organisations together, including Africa Muslims Agency, Islamic Relief SA, Nyota Collections and Al Ihya Foundation, for the common cause of highlighting the plight of South African learners.
The riders from the organisations visited impoverished schools in the Limpopo and North West provinces bringing love, hope and care. They also took assessments of the various needs within the schools and will now try to see if they can get involved in assisting.
One of the most dilapidated schools was Stinkhout Primary just outside Zeerust in the North West.
“The walls of the prefabricated classrooms were rotting. The schools pit toilets have not been cleaned since late last year, the borehole is none functional,” said Azhar Vadi of Salaam Foundation. Up to 80 learners were cramped into the classrooms which had sagging floors.
The Muslim community of Zeerust has been trying to supply water to the school about 15km outside the town in bottles for some time. This has however come to an end and the learners are now dependent on a supply from neighbouring farms.
A 2016 study published in the South African Early Childhood Review has found that around 63% of young South African children live in poverty.
This means that 3 969 000 young South African children live in poverty, with the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo having the highest rates.
In Lichtenburg the team visited a school that had an average 120 learners per classroom.
“Situations like this are simply unacceptable. The Department of Education needs to seriously look into what it is doing to ensure that the future of South Africa is secured through the provision of quality education,” said Vadi.
“While we can raise some funding through the various towns we pass through, ultimately this is a government function. We need to add pressure on the provincial and national departments to ensure that adequate funding reaches the children of South Africa.”
This year the journey spanned 1160km and ended in Lenasia on the 25 February 2018 with a mountain bike race and family outdoor market.
“We would like to thank our sponsors, Frimax Foods and Freeway Toyota for the being the constant support behind #Riding4SAeducation,” added Vadi.
Salaam Foundation coordinator, Fatima Sookharia, said the event was a great success. “We wanted more people to participate in #Riding4SAeducation. So we hosted the MTB event and despite the rain we had cyclists, young and old, taking to the hills around Lenasia. As the weather cleared we had a fantastic day all in aid of education in South Africa.”
The #Riding4SAeducation campaign 2018 follows the inaugural ride that took place in 2017. The event is now expected to be an annual occurrence.
If you are willing to contribute to this project or get involved in helping SA education you can donate to:
Account: Salaam Foundation
Account no: 62669147665
Reference: education (lillah/zakaat).
Zakaat will be used in applicable projects.