Mandela Day at ben 2016

Following on from Nelson Mandela’s vision of making a positive difference to the lives of others, BEN recently donated 30 bicycles, helmets, locks and tool kits to individuals and organisations with a need for mobility during July, in celebration of Mandela Day.

Minister Alan Winde joined BEN and our guests on the day, which saw 10 children from CAFDA receive bikes donated by Old Mutual Specialised Finance & Proline. These children were invited to write motivations as to how a bicycle would change their lives. Many of the children involved with CAFDA come from difficult backgrounds, and CAFDA provides an invaluable service to this community, supporting families and children who need it. BEN was so excited to be able to provide the gift of hope to these children through the use of a simple bicycle.

Other bicycle recipients on the day included a local neighbourhood watch group, who will use their bikes to patrol their community in Mitchells Plain, an area riddled with crime, drug abuse and gangsterism. These passionate individuals work tirelessly to ensure that the streets are safe for community members. The addition of a bike to their patrols will mean they can cover more areas than they would be able to on foot.

A local entrepreneur from Khayelitsha was also one of the lucky recipients of several Proline bicycles. This organization is using rehabilitated gangsters in the area as a means of upliftment, by cleaning bins and providing them with a form of income, whilst encouraging them to stay off the streets. These bicycles will allow them to provide these services in an affordable and eco-friendly manner.

A particular story which touched the hearts of us at BEN was the story of Shane, a security guard nominated by his employers in Capricorn Park. Shane used to walk for nearly 2 hours each morning to get to work on time, public transport being too expensive for him to afford. This meant he had to leave his family extremely early each morning, walking long distances, in the dark, through dangerous areas. His story is the same as so many South Africans who are in similar situations. The bicycle he received from BEN will mean he will be able to get to his place of work 4 times quicker than he would on foot, allowing him to spend more time with his family.

After the bicycles were handed out, each recipient was taken through a safety demonstration, ensuring that they felt confident on their bicycle and were able to use the appropriate hand signals when riding on the road.

BEN would like to thank Proline for the donation of these bicycles, as well as Old Mutual Specialised Finance for the donation of the children’s bikes.  BEN is inundated with requests for bicycles throughout the year, from deserving but needy individuals and organisations and unfortunately we are not always able to assist everybody. BEN plans to do a handover of bicycles twice a year ensuring we are supporting the community with their worthy endeavors, and changing lives through the gift of a bicycle.