It’s a common problem in rural South Africa: Many children and teenagers have to make long journeys to school on foot because public transport and taxis are either unaffordable or non-existent. That means attendance rates are low and many kids never receive a diploma. 

South African NGO Sweetbike wants to reverse the trend by making it easier for students to get to class. And they want to do it in an environmentally friendly and affordable way. 

Since March 2019, in the coastal village of Ramsgate in the country’s southeast, kids have been cycling to their lessons on secondhand Sweetbikes bought in from Europe. 

So far, Sam Wenger, Ayanda Masengemi and their team have delivered some 2,000 bikes to schools, which in turn rent them to students for a year. Sweetbike is also training young people to become bicycle mechanics so they might be able to open their own workshops in the future. 

A film by Julia Jaki