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Meet the Two Sydney Dads Helping Families in Africa – One Bicycle at a Time

August 11, 2018 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email
Floods, criminals, carnivorous animals, extreme weather. These were some of the dangers Penrith Dad (and World Bicycle Relief fundraising ambassador) Reason Wafawarova, encountered on his daily 16km school journey when he was a child in Zimbabwe.

This Fathers’ Day, we salute Reason who fundraises for World Bicycle Relief Australia, a charity that delivers sturdy, all-terrain Buffalo Bicycles to children who live long distances from their school in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Reason is working alongside World Bicycle Relief Ambassador and Central Coast father of two, Ben Gove, to change lives through The Power of Bicycles. Growing up in Australia, the only challenge Ben faced on his way to school was the odd swooping magpie – a stark contrast to the daily struggles faced by kids in Africa.

“Sometimes life is tough and fathers can’t provide for their family,” said Reason. “By helping World Bicycle Relief Australia raise funds, I’m helping those families keep their kids at school which means a brighter future for the whole family. It makes me very happy to know I’m making a difference.”

“I’m really proud to be fundraising with Reason and the World Bicycle Relief team,” said Ben, who is an enthusiastic cyclist, and recently completed a fundraising ride in Queensland. “The work they do is fantastic. It’s not just handouts – World Bicycle Relief provides bicycles as a tool of social and economic empowerment in these communities.”

The provision of Buffalo Bicycles to students has a measurable impact. A school student can cover four times the distance, and for every 10 miles, three hours of time is saved on a Buffalo Bicycle. Students who have access to a bike have increased school attendance by 28%, and their academic performance has improved by 59%.

Reason grew up in the small village of Dungu, Zimbabwe, and received access to a family bicycle while he was 12. Prior to owning a bicycle and attending high school, Reason would wake at 4:30 a.m. to run barefoot an 18km journey to Murwira Primary School in the Bikita District which would start at 8:00am.

Being the first established school in the village, Murwira Primary School had no tolerance for late attendance resulting in severe punishments for students. “Being late was not an option, we would be bashed by our teachers, required to run laps around the school or sent home. After such a strenuous journey there, we would be extremely tired, so more running was a nightmare,” he said.

Even when Reason was punctual, the exhaustion made learning difficult. “I used to be tired and hungry, resulting in dozing off and lack of concentration in class,” he said.

Reason would not only run to school to avoid being late, he would run as fast as he could to avoid encountering dangerous animals or criminals as well as having his feet burn from the freezing or hot temperatures. Once, he was even swept away in a raging flooded river, but was rescued and revived. His journey home was under the same circumstances and would be followed by hours of laborious chores, often involving yet more running.

“By saving precious time and energy each day, a Buffalo Bicycle helps more children to finish their education and have a chance to improve their lives,” Reason said.

Reason relocated to Penrith, Sydney in early 2004 with his family and now is a successful entrepreneur and CEO of Lamre Investments Pty Ltd which assists with fundraising for World Bicycle Relief.

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