Bicycle project to boost local pre-schools

Some under-resourced pre-schools in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands are to receive new bicycles for their playgrounds from the Rotary Club of Hilton and Howick after five shipping containers filled with the bicycles arrive in Durban harbour this week.

The container which the Hilton and Howick club is receiving is one of five being shipped to the Rotary Club of Empangeni. The Empangeni club, which has for many years run a hugely successful bicycle project, gave a container to the Hilton and Howick club on the condition that the club raised the R20 000 needed to pay for port dues and transport to Howick within the next two weeks.

“We are looking for donors to contribute towards these costs,” said Glynn Harborth, the incoming treasurer of the Rotary Club of Hilton and Howick and project convenor. “Should donors wish, they can be included in the distribution phase of this project.”

“This is a special project as it will give many preschool children, who otherwise would not have the opportunity, the chance to learn to ride a bicycle,” he said.

Howick-based occupational therapist Emma Wijnberg, of Emma Wijnberg Occupational Therapy and Hippotherapy, enthusiastically endorsed the project and explained that learning to ride a bicycle contributes significantly to the development of young children.

Bilateral integration

“Riding a bicycle requires bilateral integration, which is integrating the two sides of the body. Through bilateral integration, we establish laterality in our brains which form neural pathways between the two sides of the brain. This is necessary for visual perceptual tasks such as reading, writing and maths.

“Riding a bicycle also requires the development of the vestibular, visual and proprioceptive systems which works on things such as balance, motor planning and also influences the child’s ability to concentrate and alert for learning later on.”

The donated bicycles are part of a consignment of 10 000 bicycles which was secured by Rotary clubs in the US. The Rotarians had learned of a manufacturer that was about to scrap them after a purchaser had rejected the order and offered to take the bicycles and distribute them among worthy beneficiaries. The bicycles had been rejected as the inner tubes in the front wheels had caused the white wall tyres to discolour.

*Anyone who would like to contribute towards this project can contact Glynn Harborth on 082 574 4155 or donate directly via EFT or bank deposit to:
The Rotary Club of Howick
FNB Cheque account: 5253 079 0247
Branch code: 220725
Reference: Bicycles

Please message your donation and contact details to Glynn if you wish to be kept appraised of the donation and involved in the distribution phase.