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Building bikes to build communities
Senior Member
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Working with Qhubeka – the South African arm of a global bike charity – we provide durable transport designed for African terrain for those with limited access to economic necessities, such as schools, healthcare centres and shopping districts. Throughout the continent, Qhubeka bikes have changed the fortunes of students, teachers, healthcare workers and many others, consequently uplifting communities. Once assembled and tested by Standard Bankers and biking professionals, the bikes are sent to disadvantaged communities.


In South Africa, these bikes are donated to Masibambane College, a low-fee independent school in the heart of Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg. Though all recipients of the Qhubeka bikes are deserving, no better examples of those dedicated to progress against all odds can be found than the students of this college. A truly remarkable institution, Masibambane has achieved a 100% matric pass rate since its first intake in 1997, in spite of the challenges learners face on a daily basis.


Our recent Wealth Creators Programme resulted in the donation of six bikes to the school, and a total of 70 bikes have been donated to date. Qhubeka supports the ongoing maintenance of the bikes via mobile centres in Orange Farm, and, in so doing, lives up to the meaning of its name, which is our overall philosophy: “moving forward”.



The bike challenge was the brainchild of Adele Ungaretti, Senior Designer - Global Leadership Development at Standard Bank Group. Introduced on the final day of a leadership development programme, participants are split into groups, given a box of parts, access to instructions, and then granted one and a half hours to construct the bike.


According to Ms Ungaretti, for the first 10 minutes of the exercise, the groups usually “scurry around” without direction. However, after a break to focus on leadership roles, communication and an overall plan, everything becomes clear. This is because teamwork is essential to completing the task; it’s all about identifying the unique strengths of each team member, and then building on them.


Bikes, leadership, teamwork and community building are a unusual combination but, as the saying goes, you never forget how to ride a bike. Perhaps building bikes works in a similar way – once we learn the importance of teamwork, leadership and links to our community, we can effectively build our business across the continent.





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