Regular readers know that my collection of cycling jerseys grows with each organised century ride I participate in. I have also accumulated bottles, lights and the like.
I have tried to give some of it away, but most of my cycling buddies have the same predicament. An increasing pile of stuff that they do not use.
My Biker Chick came up with a super solution. While researching places to stay and things to do and see during our recent trip to South Africa, she came across a cycling development program run by Jakaranda Children’s Home.
The Jakaranda Children’s Home, and the companion Louis Botha Children’s Home, are two non-profit organisations that look after the welfare of 350 children in Pretoria, South Africa. These children have been removed from their parents and placed in the care of the Homes by the South African children’s court. Reasons include abandonment, neglect, and emotional and physical abuse.
The primary purpose of the Homes is to provide the children with clothing, housing, schooling, food, security and stability. In addition, the Homes provide the children with the necessary therapy, life skills and emotional support that they need in order to become responsible adults, and to curb the cycle of abuse.
The children live in one of 21 individual homes within the Jakaranda compound. Each home houses thirteen to fifteen children, under the care of a House Parent. The House Parent prepares meals for the children, helps them with their homework, and provides overall care for the children like they would in their own home.
The Homes run a number of different activities, all with a therapeutic purpose. One of these activities is the Cycling Development & Therapy Project. The cycling development project was started to help children who were battling with responsibility or perseverance problems. The project now involves 100 children between the ages of 12 and 18 years. The children compete regularly in competitions and cycling events. The ultimate aim is for some of the children to take cycling as a professional career when they leave the home.
What does all this have to do with my excess cycling gear? The Jakaranda cycling development project is always looking for donations of cycling equipment and clothing.
So the largest suitcase we took on our trip was filled with jerseys, bib shorts, bottles, bottle cages, helmets, lights and the like.
It was an enjoyable and interesting visit to Jakaranda Children’s Home. Coincidentally, our guide / driver for our trip to Pretoria, and the Cradle of Humankind in Maropeng, had adopted a child who was a resident of Jakaranda. In addition, that boy was in the Cycling Development & Therapy Project, and as an adult is still an avid cyclist.
Hopefully the children at the Jakaranda Home will get a lot of use out of my pre-loved cycling gear. And I now have room to collect some more!