BY UNDP ERITREA
The Turkish Embassy in Asmara distributed 114 bicycles to high school students through the youth skills and enterprise development project implemented by the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS).
Excited students from various schools, parents, guardians and officials from the Government and the UN convened at the NUEYS Zoba Maekel hall in Asmara on 24th November 2017 for the handover ceremony. The event was organized by NUEYs in collaboration with UNDP.
During the event, Ms. Susan N. Ngongi, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, recognized efforts of the Government of the State of Eritrea in ensuring access to education and skills development for the young people.
She advocated for gender balance and called for special focus on educating young girls and ensuring employment opportunities for them. She acknowledged that the mobilization and distribution of bicycles to the youth and students is a great initiative, which can be strengthened through bicycle-related skills development training.
While delivering his remarks, Turkish Ambassador to Eritrea, H.E. Aykut Kumbaroglu acknowledged the support of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) who funded the initiative.
He said that there is proof that attendance and level of success in education improved in cases where there was reliable mode of transportation to and from school.
“This initiative provides a good opportunity for students to invest more time in their education.” He added.
The 114 bicycles were a third consignment to be handed over to Eritrea students, following 708 Qhubeka bicycles handed over in February this year and 220 bicycles from World Bicycle Relief in October 2015.
Reem Berhane, one of the students that received a bicycle said that she will have more time for studies since her new bicycle will enable her to save on time spent travelling to and from school. On behalf of the parents, Mr. Michael Gebru thanked the partners and said that the bicycles were a positive contribution to the education of their children.
Globally, Eritrea is known for professional cycling. In fact, Eritrea’s cyclists are among the best in Africa and have dominate the continent’s championships in recent years. It is anticipated that the bicycles may also help the students explore their potential in cycling careers.
As Ms. Ngongi said, “maybe some of the students who receive the bicycles will follow in the sporting footsteps of the great cycling athletes.”
NUEYS partners with UNDP through the Youth employment and skills development project. The project targets vulnerable youth and empowers them with skills for work, while at the same time addressing migration issues. The project is supported by the Government of Norway.