Bikes for Botswana
As part of our philanthropy initiatives, we have been keen to set up a long-term project near Chobe National Park and our Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero lodge in Botswana. We are happy to announce a brand new project we have started is a community bicycle shop and workshop in Kasane.
Delivery of bicycles
In mid-July, two long shipping containers filled with just over 800 donated bicycles arrived in Kasane from Chicago, USA. These containers will be turned into a bicycle shop and workshop and the outfit is owned by five women from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Government offifcials supporting the project
An exchange trip was organised to our Nakatindi Chipego Bike Shop in Zambia. During the visit the ladies learnt the business skills necessary for running a bike shop, as well as insights learnt from the Chipego bike project.
Zambia bike shop
In September, mechanical training started, led by bicycle expert, Paulina Endjala, from Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia (BENN).
Meet the ladies who will be running the bike shop:
Narufu Kwese has four children that she is looking after all by herself as their father passed away in 2014. She currently lives communally in her grandmother’s yard where she has a one-roomed house. She hopes the project will help her build a little house for her children on her own plot. She also hopes that the project will help her become a role model to other women who may be struggling in life like her.
Neo Kgwabi came to Kazungula in 2014 to look for work. She has three siblings and as the 1st born she is expected to look after everyone including her mother. She has one child who lives in Maun with her mother. She currently lives in Kazungula where she rents a one room house and sends home all the money she can spare. It is when she had given up seeking employment that she heard about the bicycle project, and she instantly knew that it is what she wanted to do.
Boitumelo Sehube has five children and seven siblings. She came to Kazungula in 2010 to look for work and found none. When she heard about the bicycle project, she became interested and she now knows that she has made the right choice by joining the team. She hopes to build her mother a small house, connect power, and bring all her children under the same roof and raise them up to become responsible adults.
Goitseone Basiame attended school up to junior secondary. None of her siblings are employed and she has been trying to look after everyone from the age of seventeen. The social welfare programme had built them a two bedroomed house where everyone lives including her daughter. She wishes to build her own house someday where she could live with her daughter and raise her responsibly.
The Botswana Government and UNICEF declared the day before independence (29th September) as a public holiday this year, specifically to pay attention to children as part of Botswana’s celebration of its 50th anniversary. Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero and the bike shop ladies have collaborated with the regional education office and hosted 30 children on 30 bicycles for 50 minutes and donated 10 bicycles to Pandamatenga children. It is hoped that the bicycles will help the children get to school early and with ease (and in a fun way), thereby improving their attendance and performance.
Any guests staying with us at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero are welcome to come and visit the Bike Shop and meet the ladies running the project first-hand.
Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero