AutoTrader Gets Learners’ Wheels Turning
Alexandra Township – AutoTrader completed a marathon charity drive across South Africa today, with hundreds of bicycles presented to learners from Alexandra Township’s Kwabhekilanga Secondary School.
Dubbed #DriveChange, the project began in September and October 2015, where AutoTrader visited ten shopping malls in the cities of Durban,Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria. There, the public were invited to add their artistic contribution to a fleet of 52 AutoTrader vehicles, creating uniquely coloured-in public branding. The chance to get creative came with the invitation to make a R50 donation, money that ultimately found its way to the learners of Kwabhekilanga School.
Two months of inspired colouring-in led to one of South Africa’s biggest collaborative charity events and the raising of R250 000; an amount providing for 100 bicycles from AutoTrader.
The money raised had already been earmarked for Qhubeka, a local charity representing World Bicycle Relief in South Africa. They, in partnership with the City of Johannesburg, have created the Urban Scholar Bicycle (USB) Programme. A sustainable development initiative, with one of its key focus areas is Alexandra Township and the transport corridor that exists between it and the commercial centre of Sandton.
“AutoTrader saw the opportunity to set the wheels rolling by creating head-turning car branding, all in support of driving a social responsibility initiative,” says AutoTrader Marketing Manager, Tyrone Woods. “We instantly fell in love with Qhubeka’s bicycle relief programme and the fact is; Qhubeka is helping educate the nation and we are hoping our small part will also help #DriveChange in South Africa too.”
The City of Johannesburg pledged to match the amount of bicycles donated by AutoTrader, giving the drive an extra edge. Local businesses Fluor and Tarsus joined the initiative, pledging 40 bicycles each, which pushed the eventual bicycle amount to be donated to 360.
“Kwabhekilanga Secondary School achieved Alexandra’s highest Matric pass rate in both 2014 and 2015,” said Woods. “The majority of learners there walk to school. In them we’ve found a shining example of young South Africans committed to education, and we’re extremely proud to support them.”
The project culminated on June 22, when AutoTrader along with Qhubeka and the City of Johannesburg, presented the bicycles to proud learners.
“We began this project not knowing how successful this campaign would be,” said Tyrone Woods, AutoTrader Marketing Manager. “To end up being part of handing over 360 to the future minds of our country is spectacular. Our huge thanks to the City of Johannesburg, Fluor, Tarsus, and most importantly the South African public who put their own money, time and vision into this. Thank you!”
Alexandra (aka Alex) was identified as an area for bicycle distribution by the City of Jo’burg due to the transport corridor that exists between Alex and Sandton. Kwabhekilanga Secondary School was selected based on its position as the highest-performing school in Alex in terms of Matric pass rate in both 2014 and 2015, and because the majority of students currently walk to school. The City’s hope is that by providing schoolchildren with improved mobility, they will further boost academic performance.
The partnership between Qhubeka and City of Jo’burg is known as the Urban Scholar Bicycle (USB) Programme. Its objectives align with the city’s goals of sustainable development and Qhubeka’s vision of building communities of excellence powered by bicycles. Learners who participate in the programme will be supported with bike safety and maintenance training by African Public Bicycles.
Students who are part of the programme have to commit to safe use and storage of the bicycle and make a nominal financial contribution. This will be used by the school to fund the training of a bicycle mechanic, who will be responsible for maintenance of the bicycles. The bicycles will be owned by the school until such time that the beneficiaries graduate from school and all contract terms are met, at which time the students take full ownership of the bicycles.