In 2016, Dimension Data, a global technology integrator and managed services provider for hybrid IT, became the key sponsor of a professional cycling team, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. Qhubeka is a South African organization that donates bicycles as part of the World Bicycle Relief's charity program. Around 90,000 bicycles have been distributed since the charity's inception in 2005, partly thanks to the #BicyclesChangeLives campaign championed by Team Dimension Data during Le Tour. Qhubeka mobilizes people in rural communities by providing them with bicycles in exchange for work done to improve communities, the environment, or academic results. We asked Celine Rousseau, Group Senior Marketing Manager: Innovation & Incubation from Dimension Data, to tell us more about the initiative.
Senior Marketing Manager:
Innovation & Incubation
Global Marketing Department
In South Africa's Limpopo province, around 12 million children walk to school every day. Three million spend more than one hour walking each way, and 660,000 spend more than two hours walking each way, sometimes along roads with no street lighting. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, established in 2007 as Africa's first pro continental team, has made it its mission is to help solve this issue.
"Through Qhubeka, we are donating bicycles to people in South Africa, including children, adults, and health professionals. If they have bicycles, their school attendance improves and commuting times can be cut by as much as 75%. It also enables them to carry five times more possessions and travel up to four times farther. The goal of this initiative is to connect people to fundamental services such as school, medical facilities, and work," said Celine Rousseau, Senior Marketing Manager: Innovation & Incubation, Dimension Data.
"When a bicycle donation is granted to an individual, they are asked to make a commitment to the cause such as improving school grades, planting trees, recycling or producing craftwork. The aim of this is to drive motivation of the receiver to give back. Through this initiative, we're providing empowerment to local communities, including supporting the development of the next generation and creating employment."
In order to facilitate this charitable activity, Dimension Data has developed an online portal that enables individuals to donate to Qhubeka from anywhere in the world. Donors can fund an entire bicycle, or even just parts, such as a saddle or wheels.
In addition, Dimension Data assisted with the development of a health and wellness application called Phila in order to monitor the team's daily health status. Via a mobile app, the team members' data is recorded to help management assess sleeping patterns, the effects of training and their continuous motivation to raise performance levels. The data collected can then be analyzed, enabling the support team to develop a bespoke profile for each athlete. This data then accompanies the actual physical performance helping the team to better understand their rides and achieve better results which, in turn, raises awareness of Qhubeka, which leads to an increase in donations.
"Our aim for this year was to donate 700 bicycles and make our Qhubeka program truly sustainable. We are thrilled to confirm that we have already surpassed this goal. To continue this momentum going forward, we will use ICT to enhance the support functions available to the athletes and develop a system that makes the donation process even easier," said Rousseau.
This video was taken at a very special event where Dimension Data employees presented children from Kylemore, South Africa, with 130 bicycles. It also features a visit to a Qhubeka bicycle assembly plant where unemployed women are trained to assemble the donations.