The World Bicycle Relief in partnership with Greenline Africa Trust has handed over 400 bicycles to four schools in Matabeleland North with calls for strengthening of public private partnerships (PPPs) in the education sector in order to create a conducive learning environment for the learners.

Walking for more than 10 kilometres every day to and from school braving the scotching heat and unfavourable terrain associated with Hwange district has become part and parcel of 15-year old Ntandoyenkosi Phiri’s life.

She regularly misses the first two lessons every day and must be careful as she walks through the animal infested forest around Jambezi.

Thanks to the bicycle education empowerment programme, Ntandoyenkosi was among the 120 pupils at Nejambezi Secondary School who received bicycles and is upbeat the new asset will help her conquer the barrier of distance, achieve independence and succeed.

“We are grateful to the donor for the gesture which we believe will empower us as students. Normally, we get to school late and exhausted. Now we feel empowered and l am sure it will improve the overall pass rate,” said Ntandoyenkosi.

The bicycle education empowerment programme implementing partners said they are proud to complement government in ensuring that school children in remote areas have access to quality education.

“With the help of our supporters, World Bicycle Relief is making investment in girls. We are confident that the power of the bicycle can play an influential role in the progress of girls and women in Zimbabwe,” said Irene Mulunjiwana, World Bicycle Relief Programme Officer.

Guest of honour during the handover ceremony, Hwange District Schools Inspector Mr Germination Moyo said PPPs remains critical in transforming the country’s education sector.

“We need to strengthen the PPPs if we are to achieve the set targets in as far as the education sector is concerned,” Mr Moyo said.

A total of 400 bicycles were handed over to four schools in Hwange district with Nejambezi Secondary getting 120 bicycles while a total of 100 bicycles were given to Sizinda Secondary.

Chisuma and Vhulindlela Secondary Schools each received 40 bicycles.

With a view to empower the girl child, 70 percent of the bicycles were donated to girls at the four mentioned schools.

Since the inception of the bicycle education empowerment programme, more than 45 000 bicycles have been donated to several schools in different provinces across the country.