What if two cyclists rode through the heart of Africa to help vulnerable children and orphans... and one of the cyclists was a koala?

BIKE AFRICA is a journey supporting Keep the Dream 196, an organisation reaching out to some of the 1.5 million children orphaned as a result of HIV in South Africa.

In 2012, cyclists Mark McNamara and Katie Dee, the koala, will ride from Kampala, Uganda to Cape Town, South Africa. The journey will span 8000 kilometres, 10 countries and 2 species. A journey turning the wheels on a cycle of hope...

And everyone’s invited along for the ride.

The adventure began 15 January 2012.

BIKE AFRICA is raising funds for the community-based organisation, Keep the Dream 196 who support children through mentoring programs. Mentors guide children in making decisions to build a brighter future. Currently over 2400 children in 85 villages are being supported. Keep the Dream 196 aims to reduce poverty, generate employment and develop social integration at a grassroots level by teaching independence, responsibility and resilience.

Scouting is a core component of Keep the Dream's program. Tsako Ngobeni, a scout member, commented on his involvement with scouts: "To be a scout makes me be a good person because my past life was bad. Because I did not know where I was going but after I have joined scouts I have changed a lot. I know where I am going and I have some knowledge of how to improve and achieve my goals all because of scouts. Scouts also makes me to be a respected person. I am proud to be a scout and I like the way I am."

Other sustainable, low-cost programs include First Aid, Boys 2 Men (trains young men what it means to be a man in South Africa), Leadership, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Food For Life.

Ultimately, individuals are assisted to overcome difficulties to realise their full potential and contribute to the building of South Africa. This rights-based approach focusses on strengthening families and communities. 

Katie Dee, the cycling koala, is the vision of Geoffrey Reed Communications. Reedcomm provides thought leadership and world-class creativity in brand communications and filmed entertainment. Their holistic approach to brand management and marketing communications has already generated media interest in Katie Dee within Australia and internationally.

Katie Dee has been brought to life by one of Australia’s leading animation creators, Anifex. The quality of their work earned Anifex the reputation of producing some of the world’s finest award-winning commercials. Anifex’s Katie Dee will also bring joy to thousands of African children across ten nations.

Katie Dee, the cycling koala, represents Australia and the nurturing nature of the mother koala. For the young children being supported by Keep the Dream 196, the visit of the cycling koala will be a tremendous event.

The BIKE AFRICA web site, bikeafrica.net, provides teacher resources, profiles of African nations along the route and research on the benefits of cycling. Information has been curated by the following education partners: New Internationalist Publications, The Global Education Centre, The Cycling Promotion Fund, The Australian Koala Foundation and Zoos South Australia.

Both Mark and Katie Dee will share their adventure in Africa through blogs at bikeafrica.net.

To ensure that the message of BIKE AFRICA doesn't end when the last mile is completed, a documentary will record the adventure building to a climax with the life-changing work of Keep the Dream 196. The documentary will be a legacy that educates and opens hearts to the possibility of change for the better.

One Australian school will also travel the 8000 kilometre BIKE AFRICA route in a virtual race across Africa. Students accumulate kilometres by walking, running or cycling. The virtual position of the school is plotted on map of Africa at bikeafrica.net to enable students to follow their progress through Africa. Students participate in the Race Across Africa to increase cultural understanding and more closely unite the two continents. The virtual race is the inspiration for students to learn about countries and cultures they 'experience', whilst gaining a positive perspective on Africa.

RSPCA SA confirms Katie Dee, the cycling koala, is medically fit and has been cleared to ride in Bike Africa.

For further information, contact Mark McNamara. [email protected]



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