#National News

Caritas Gambia distributes 300 bicycles to schools

Mar 2, 2021, 1:42 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Catholic Development Office (Caritas Gambia) through their partner, Rotary Ireland last week distributed 300 bicycles to 13 schools in The Gambia.

Caritas Gambia was established on January 1st 2001 as the development unit of the Catholic Diocese of Banjul, registered as a charitable non-profit organisation.

Speaking at the presentation held at Caritas office in Westfield, Dr. Darrol Tommy, Board Chairman of Caritas Gambia described education as the way forward, adding that historically the Catholic Diocese is credited to provide sustainable education across all sectors of The Gambia irrespective of race, creed or social standing. 

He said children are the future of every nation and the provision of bicycles to needy and deserving students will contribute towards making a difference. “When children are educated, they live healthier lives that are more productive”.

Dr. Tommy noted that empowering Gambian students with mobility to access quality education is critical towards the nation’s drive to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4.

‘’In The Gambia, the Catholic Diocese has championed the right to education for all  generations, and the partnership between Rotary Ireland and CaDO is to contribute to a Gambia where every child has access to a life-changing education. With an education, a child is far more likely to become an adult with higher skills, better paid, and more secure employment. Educated children have a greater chance of reaching their potential, breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty, and helping their community prosper. Unfortunately, children are often denied their basic right to an education by factors beyond their control, such as poverty, gender, disability and geography,’’ he bemoaned.

According to him, since 2018, Rotary Ireland has mobilised over 1,370 bicycles to enable Gambian students, especially girls to access education. “With a bicycle, children and their families are empowered, and education becomes a priority”, he further said.

He said the biggest barrier to education for those students living in rural areas may be the distance to get to school. He expressed hope that with the bicycles, students’ attendance increases and children’s commute time can be reduced by up to 75% which translates into an increase in academic performance. Bicycles, he added, help children attend school regularly and arrive better rested.

“As with every machine, the bicycles require regular maintenance and occasional access to spare parts to keep them rolling over the rugged terrain. We call on schools and parents to ensure the bicycles keep rolling”.