The Rotary Ireland School Bikes Africa project, with the support of Clare County Council, gives members of the public across Clare the opportunity to bring their unwanted bicycles to the Central Waste Management Facility at Ballyduff Beg, Inagh, for FREE.
From there, the Army will deliver the bicycles to the open prisons at Loughan House, County Cavan, and Shelton Abbey, County Wicklow, where they will be refurbished by prisoners. Then Rotary ships them to Gambia in Africa to be distributed to school children, making their school experience so much easier.
Members of the Irish Army in the persons of Corporal Mark O’Flynn and Private Declan Keogh, Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick, loaded a container full and hauled them to the Shelton Abbey Prison in Arklow. They were aided by Eamon Rynne, Site Manager and other County Council staff as well as Annie Walsh, project coordinator for the Ennis Rotary Club.
In helping to sort the donated bikes Annie Walsh emphasised that for these bikes to be useful under the rough conditions in rural Gambia they must have mountain bike type wheels of 24 inch diameter or larger.
Any bikes not up to standard are scrapped for metal. She also repeated her statement from the project launch: “Children in Africa often have to travel up to 10km to get to school and back in a day and doing this on foot, in extreme heat, can be difficult at best. We urge you to get involved and help to transform the lives of these children.”
Over the last few years Rotary Ireland has delivered 4,000 bikes and therefore helped more than 4,000 children. Currently Co. Clare is budgeted for 300 bikes to be collected over the next several months. They must be in reasonable condition. If a new chain, saddle or brake cable is required that is fine but if a bike is buckled or very rusted, then it is not suitable for this scheme.”
Jason Dempsey, Rotary Ireland District International Services Team Lead, summed up this project as being a “win, win, win”: a win for the climate, given the benefits of “repair and re-use, as well as promoting sustainable transport”; a win for inmates “providing training and rehabilitation”; and a win for children “providing a better chance for education”.
Members of the public can donate their unused and unwanted bicycles at the Central Waste Management Facility in Ballyduff Beg, Inagh. Opening hours are as follows:
- Tuesday to Friday – 8.30am to 4.30pm;
- Saturday – 8.30am to 1.00pm.