[By Edwin Mbulo in Kalomo]
WORLD Bicycle Relief has appealed to the government to reduce the 25 per cent duty on bicycles.
Meanwhile, Kalomo education standards officer Charles Simaamba says many children have dropped out of school due frustrations of long
distances they have to cover.
Speaking when bicycle relief organisation donated over 300 bicycles to Kalomo’s Mabuyu, Chinfusa primary and Mukwela Secondary
schools, World Bicycle Relief (WBR) country director Brian Moonga said 30,000 Euros was raised with the assistance of the Rotary Club of Trier in Germany to procure the 305 bicycles.
“This is the first time for us to start a partnership with the Rotary Club and we will organise more funds for more bicycles for disadvantaged learners in rural areas. As WBR we remain focused so
that we provide transport for our learners and we plan to distribute 4,200 bicycles to Kalomo, Monze and even Mumbwa,” he said. “To the Ministry of
Education you have witnessed how partnerships work in the field. I really wish that with this you can understand the need for transportation in rural areas for education, health as well as
improving lives of the people. We are making an earnest appeal to our new government that it can
consider reducing the 25 per cent duty for bicycles so that those who are using them for education, health and improving their lives can
access them cheaply.”
Moonga said it was a huge challenge for those corporate institutions that want to provide relief to import bicycles as prices are inflated.
He told the receiving pupils and schools that good results would help the WBR to lobby for more bicycles.
Rotary Club of Musi-oa-Tunya president Sarah Ndalama has urged children in Kalomo rural to concentrate on education despite the many
challenges they face.
She said the donation of bicycles to rural children who have to cover long distances to attend classes would be an ongoing programme.
“Continue learning, you never know that you can also be the president of Zambia,” said Ndalama.
Mukwela Secondary School head teacher Edgar Simaamba said the furthest distance that children have to walk is 14 kilometres to attend class.
Simaamba warned parents of the children who received the bicycles against using them for other errands other than transportation of the children to go to school.
“The bicycles will be used by our learners who have suffered the challenge of having to walk long distances to attend classes and many
have stopped attending lessons,” said Simaamba. “These bicycles will help increase class attendance and we are happy that the WBR has extended this
gesture to Mukwela.”