By Samora Machel Brigade
From the MST web site
During the first half of August, the “Bicycles for Zambia” Campaign distributed 100 new bicycles, from the goal of 10,500 bicycles (new and/or used), to all educators who volunteer in the Literacy and Agroecology Campaign , developed by the MST together with the Socialist Party.
Paula França, from the Samora Machel Internationalist Brigade, reports that educators are very appreciated in these territories and that everyone was happy with the possibility of assisting the process that has been taking place.
“It is a very beautiful and very grand action of solidarity, not only because of the numbers, but because of the level of the challenge we have taken on; we have organized a collective, built a literacy method and are putting it into practice with fellow Zambians.”
This delivery refers to the small portion of the amount already collected for the acquisition of the first bikes, which the MST Internationalist Brigade in Zambia, Samora Machel, is responsible for. In addition to individual contributions, the campaign is supported by international organizations such as Whyhunger, USA. The next step will be to get 2,000 bicycles to cover all the students of this stage of the campaign, which aims to make 10,500 peasants literate.
The Zambian educator, Judite Mwalemb, comments on how access to a means of transport will contribute to the promotion of the literacy campaign developed in the country.
“This (the bicycle) will help me and the other teachers to visit our students. There are times when some cannot come because they are too far away, others are close, but it’s hard to visit them. However, with the bicycle we should be able to do this to find out why they cannot come to school.”
In addition to shortening distances between educator and student, this action increases access to one of the greatest human rights, education. “Literacy school is going to go a long way because some people don’t know how to spell their names, because someone says, ‘That’s a lot of money’ when it really isn’t. But, if someone knows how to read and write, it will help them to know who they are and they can also bring development to the community”, concludes Mwalemb.
The action took place in Western, Eastern and Lusaka provinces. In these last two, five communities, 22 classes, 440 students from literacy classes were visited. However, the moment of delivery of the bicycles was followed by more people from the community. In Western province, three communities and eight classes were visited.
The educator and MST activist, Elizabeth Cerqueira, says that this was one of the main activities developed to promote the continuity of the Fred M’bembe Literacy and Agroecology Campaign. “One of the main ones, because the teachers in these communities also had a period of classes stopped because of Covid-19, so, in addition to the bikes, we delivered the sanitation and mask kits, so that we can continue the campaign within the required protocols.”
Donate bikes to Zambia and contribute to literacy
Cycling is the main and most popular form of transport in Zambia. Still, the displacement of a large part of the population is a challenging issue and many people have to walk between 15 and 30 km daily to get to school. In this sense, the international solidarity campaign “Bicycles for Zambia” is a project that initially is trying to raise 30,000 euros for the purchase of 10,500 bicycles (new and/or used) for students and educators of Literacy and Agroecology classes in the country and help these people access classes.
Literacy is crucial to enable the use of basic health, education and citizenship services and rights. Zambia has English as one of the eight official languages (there are seven local languages plus English), but despite being the language used in official institutions, it is not spoken by more than half of the population, made up of more than 72 ethnicities and languages distinct, among which the Bantu group is predominant, which includes communities with vast cultural diversity, present in 22 African countries.
The MST campaign takes place within the framework of the Paulo Freire Centennial Struggle Days, in support of the Fred M’membe Literacy and Agroecology Campaign, which operates in three Zambian provinces: Lusaka, Eastern and Western.
The training process is based on the method “Speaking, Reading and Writing the Words and the World”, inspired by Freire and coordinated by the Samora Machel Internationalist Brigade of the MST and by the Socialist Party.
How to donate
Interested parties can donate to the Bike Campaign through the GoFundMe platform: https://www.gofundme.com/f/bikes-for-zambia
For donations in Brazil, use the PIX: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Edited by Solange Engelmann