1st December 2014
A new secondary school will be opening in Kenya thanks to the pedal power of cyclists in Coventry and Warwickshire.
Ricoh Arena head of sales Angela Perkins was the driving force behind the On Your Bike challenge when cyclists took part in a 24-hour challenge at the award-winning venue to raise funds for the Memusi Foundation.
Teams made-up of cycling clubs, businesses and charities along with individual cyclists cycled 1km each on static bikes to raise £30,000 to help the charity establish the only secondary school within a 200-mile radius of the southern Kenyan town of Magadi.
Angela has returned from another volunteering trip to Kenya where the classrooms are currently being built.
She said: “It is incredible to watch the school come to life thanks to the fantastic efforts of all the cyclists who took part in the challenge.
“The Kenyan government has agreed to build the foundations of the secondary school next door to the Memusi Foundation’s primary school and the money we raised will pay for the equipment needed for the classrooms such as chairs, tables, pens, pencils and stationery along with school uniforms, teachers’ salaries and accommodation for two teachers.
“The school will accommodate 150 students aged from 14 to 17 and it will have electricity. The whole region doesn’t have electricity but it will be installed in the next two months and another first for the school is that they will have computers thanks to our fundraising efforts.”
Angela also held an eye clinic during her nine-day visit after receiving basic training from her optician.
“I took 500 pairs of glasses after we raised money among staff at the Ricoh Arena because on my last trip to Kenya I realised that no-one in Magadi had had their eyes tested,” she said.
“We held a Great Memusi Bake Off and myself, business development manager Jenni Ford and sales executive Simon Goroll completed a 10km Halloween sponsored walk around Coventry and one of the chattiest members of staff, sales and events apprentice Shakeela Cumberbatch – no relation to the Sherlock Holmes actor! – collected £143 by keeping quiet for eight hours.
“One man walked 160km to attend and he cried when he put his glasses on because he could see to read the Bible again, and we also had a 100-year-old man come along.
“We gave away 350 pairs of glasses so the eye clinic was a big success.
“I’m going back to Kenya in April to lead a team of volunteers and it will be fascinating to see the secondary school progressing.
“None of this would have been possible without the generous efforts of everyone involved and their hard work is going to make a huge difference to the lives of this generation and current generations of schoolchildren in this particular part of Kenya.”