British School pupils cycle away to help out African children
ABU DHABI // Thanks to a school in the capital, 40 Zambian children will soon have access to a bicycle that for the first time will allow them to ride the long distance to their nearest school.
And 25 Ugandan youngsters are going to have a permanent place at a school, with all fees paid, because of the recent 24-hour sponsored cycle marathon at the British School Al Khubairat (BSAK).
Approximately 270 pupils, staff, parents and governors all took a turn, some for longer than others, on an exercise bike in BSAK's lobby over two days, and the sum raised so far in sponsorship is Dh40,000, a figure that is expecting to rise.
The money has gone to Promoting Equality in African Schools (Peas) and World Bicycle Relief, and this non-stop marathon was the brainchild of the school's student committee.
"The students should feel really proud of themselves," said the deputy head Louise Jenkins, who rode two hours herself.
"That's 65 children with access to an education that would not have one unless our school community had cycled for 24 hours, and that's the equivalent of half of one of our year groups of 125 students."
Joe Elkdi, 15, was one of the organisers, and felt that it was his responsibility to take the night shift.
"That was one of the best experiences of my life, even if I never got any sleep. I used a lot of caffeine," he said.
There were 80 pupils who spent the night in the school to make sure there was always someone on all of the six exercise bikes.
Charlie Day, 15, another member of the committee did more than his fair share, 2.5 hours, throughout the long night.
"I was pretty shattered by the end … But we are really happy with the money raised and how well it has gone."
Updated: December 19, 2011 04:00 AM