About the project
Covid-19 lockdown isolation that people the world over have complained about for two years now is the level of solitude that people in indigenous and Outback communities have experienced their whole lives.
Covid – which denies them the services and visitors that broaden their opportunities and engagement – only made that isolation that much worse.
Throw in the once-in-a-century flood in January that not only furthered their isolation but limited the children’s opportunity for outside play that assuages it and you can only imagine the desperate need that currently exists in the APY lands.
Bike SA, through its Bikes Palya program which is committed to improving the lives of Outback and indigenous youth through bikes/cycling, has committed to do something about this hardship. In partnership with local education organisation Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Education Committee and with the generous support of major South Australian energy company Santos, Bikes Palya has set a target to raise at least $10,000 and collect 100 bikes to take up to the APY lands by the Term One school holidays starting on April 15.
Funds raised will be used to refurbish and deliver the 100 bikes primarily among four APY lands communities – Mimili, Indulkana, Fregon and Ernabella – while also supplying and adapting shipping containers as bike workshops and storage, supplying tools and training and sending out staff for ongoing support, education and community-building.
APY lands community leader and advocate Zibeon Fielding, SA’s Young Australian of the Year in 2020, is thrilled by the prospects this campaign’s success will provide for his community.
“Covid over the past two years certainly has caused some physiological and emotional burden for many people, not just the youth. There has been an increase in violence and of alcohol being smuggled into the lands. We’ve seen disruption in the community and the youth misses out because of those disturbances in the community. It’s been a burden for a lot of us”, Mr Fielding said.
“Like the rest of Australia and the world, we’re looking at what’s at the end of this dark tunnel of Covid and for us to move forward this is the perfect time to help bring the awareness into the community and provide support by putting a plan like this into action now.
“We’re tackling how to help engage students in school and if we can reward them with bikes and the workshops and learning that comes with them, we can broaden the horizons for these kids in so many ways.”
Bike SA CEO Brett Gillett said the work the Bikes Palya team is doing to help Outback communities is among the organisation’s proudest achievements and this campaign is all the more so, given the compounding challenges’ harsh effects.
“Ïf we can hit these targets, those resources will provide meaningful assistance to communities who have been marginalised so much more than most Australians by the Covid pandemic,” Mr Gillett said.
“But this is just one more step. We have long-term strategic plans to continue and expand the services the Bikes Palya team has been providing since 2005 and with the support at this time of a major company like Santos we are significantly strengthening our capacity to do that.”