BEEP Expands in Zambia with Biggest Launch Yet
As the Power of Bicycles continues to spread throughout Zambia, World Bicycle Relief is proud to announce the launch of the Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP) in the Copperbelt Region of Zambia. Working in partnership with Kaloko Trust, WBR will distribute 3,000 bicycles to seventeen schools in Mpongwe and Masaiti Districts of Copperbelt Province.
The official launch ceremony, which took place on September 20, 2013, was attended by an impressive list of Zambian government officials and education professionals, including the Honourable Minister of Education, Dr. John Phiri, MP. To commemorate the event, Dr. Phiri gave a speech in which he lamented the plight of rural children who have to face such long distances to school. He also saluted the rural teachers who have to put up with harsh conditions just to get the children educated. He expressed his profound thanks to WBR and Kaloko for embarking on such a huge program to address the struggles of rural pupils. The Honourable Minister promised its total support toward BEEP, hoping that someday it may extended beyond the 50,000 bicycles target so as to benefit more pupils in the country.
The Minister expressed sincere thanks to the donors who spare their hard earned dollars to assist buying bicycles for the children in his country. In a prayer he offered for the success of the program, the Minister called for blessings on the hands that give and interceded for all beneficiaries to excel in all their endeavours in life as they use the Buffalo bicycles donated by WBR.
The second speech of the day was presented by Her Royal Highness Chieftainess Malembeka, who called on her subjects to respect the rule of law and let the children use their bicycles for school errands. She cited the fact that her area was known for charcoal business and sternly warned that anyone found ferrying charcoal on a school bicycle while the child walks to school will meet her wrath and that of the law!
The Chieftainess warned the girls in her area against engaging in early marriages and encouraged them to concentrate on school now that distance had been conquered by the Buffalo Bicycles donated by WBR.
She reminded the audience that the Honourable Minister of Education had charged her with the responsibility to ensure that the bicycles were used properly and warned that she would carry out this noble duty diligently, while reminding the pupils to take good care of the bicycles and ride responsibly.
The occasion was attended by over 800 people from the Mpongwe and Masaiti communities. It could easily be the biggest launch ever organised since the inception of BEEP in Zambia!