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Changing world one child, one tree, one bike at a time

The Wildlands Conservation Trust, Qhubeka and MTN Business have teamed up to address the various socio-economic challenges faced by disadvantaged communities across the country.

Working in partnership with the Wildlands Conservation Trust and Qhubeka, MTN Business is addressing the various socio-economic challenges which face the multitude of disadvantaged communities across the country. One child, one tree and one bicycle at a time.

Qhubeka which means to ‚move forward’, is a corporate social investment project which aims to help rural communities by providing bicycles to children in return for work done to improve their environment and communities.

Says Serame Taukobong, CMO of MTN SA: ‚Of the 16 million schoolchildren in South Africa, approximately 12 million walk to school. Of these, 500,000 walk more than two hours each way, spending four hours getting to school and back each day. Through this partnership, we are able to alleviate the plight of school children and make their school life more bearable. Furthermore, we are using our communication packages to provide bicycles to community members that have either grown 100 trees or collected over 1 500 kilograms of recycling.‚

How does MTN Business Qhubeka work?

The MTN Business Qhubeka offering consists of enterprise solutions that differentiates MTN Business by offering voice, data and ISP solutions that positively impact communities and the environment. These products are customised according to the total spend of the individual or company and a portion of the discounted rate is contributed towards the Qhubeka initiative.

Simply put – select an MTN Business Qhubeka product or service and your organisation will help uplift a community because the corporate spend helps roll out Qhubeka bicycles to children in the Wildlands communities.

MTN has supported cycling for years and this year they have re-branded their high profile professional cycling team to Team MTN Qhubeka to raise awareness of this initiative which is essentially about mobilising children on bicycles. The cycling team and Qhubeka are tightly linked as Qhubeka enables children to earn bicycles and the MTN Qhubeka cycling team’s vision is to develop an African World Cycling Champion.

Continues Taukobong: ‚This is not possible if the children don’t have bicycles to start with. Together with our customers, we can make a massive impact on these children’s lives. What’s more, this is the first time that companies and individuals have the opportunity to embark on a social responsibility initiative while simultaneously addressing their communications requirements. The benefits that accrue to such communities not only include reducing the time it takes for children to walk to school by up to 75%, but it also allows the children to get to school on time without exhaustion or fatigue ‚ allowing them to concentrate better and get the education they deserve. Additionally, through the introduction of the sport of cycling into these communities, and the boosting of local economies through the creation of whole new industries centred on Qhubeka bicycles, it also encourages cultural activities to support increasingly self-sustainable communities.‚

Wildlands is currently working in over 30 communities nationwide, supporting a network of thousands of ‚tree-preneurs’ and ‚green-preneurs’, who are progressively improving their lives. Through Wildlands they can barter their trees and recycling for food, clothes, water tanks, building material and any form of educational support. To date, Qhubeka has handed over thousands of bicycles to communities who have planted hundreds of thousands of trees across the country. Even healthcare workers using MTN Business Qhubeka bicycles have managed to increase their visits to orphans and vulnerable children by 400%.

‚From a corporate perspective we are fully behind this project, as not only are we focused on mobilising business potential through our communication solutions, but also on mobilising and uplifting communities. MTN Business Qhubeka is another example of our commitment to making this a reality and who knows, perhaps one day a Tour de France cycling champion will be a result of the MTN Business Qhubeka project,‚ concludes Taukobong.


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