Quella has recently partnered with The Buffalo Foundation to create a one-off, branded version of it’s iconic Oxford bike. Every Buffalo Foundation bike sold returns 25% of its sale price directly to The Buffalo Foundation. In this edition of The Fix, we talk to founder, Jan Joubert, about the charity and its background.
The Fix: So Jan, for those who don’t know about The Buffalo Foundation, can you give us some background?
J.J: Buffalo Foundation is a charity that supports disadvantaged young people via sport, education, and life skills. Sport & education is taken for granted by most of us, but in a world where people are struggling to make ends meet, it is not even on the menu. We have a heavy focus on the townships in South Africa where I am from and we have plans to replicate this with academies we support in the UK in the near future.
The Fix: Why do you feel that sport and education is so important?
J.J: .Sport takes many forms from a simple pleasure to an all-encompassing passion and our aim is to open the door to this world to people who wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity. It is not just the pleasure of taking part but the structure that it imposes; the discipline, commitment, and the communication needed to make it work. Sport introduces some of the individuals we work with to these structures for the first time in their lives. In townships where life is chaotic and unstructured, just the process of involvement with sport is life changing along with the added benefit of supplementary education via our academy tutors.
The Fix: Can you give us an example?
J.J: One of our projects that we are involved with is the Kwano Cycling Academy in the Kwanokathula township in Plettenberg Bay. The kids at the academy understand the value of what the Academy offers them, they know that they must arrive on time, that the equipment needs to be looked after in order to perform well and homework complete before cycling training. They relish the rewards of their achievements as payback for their hard work and they flourish in the safe environment of the club away from the dangers of township life.Aside from the cycling itself, the club offers extra teaching and proper facilities for the kids to do their schoolwork.
The Fix: Cycling seems to be at the heart of many of Buffalo Foundation’s initiatives, what is it about cycling that works so well?
J.J: Cycling is a very accessible discipline; it can be learned quickly and at its most basic level it instantly provides a method of transport as well as a route to improved fitness and wellbeing. You literally get back what you put in and with some commitment, improvement is rapid and rewarding. A bike also gives instant freedom, and enables self-sufficient transport whether it be to school, a medical centre or just to visit a friend. The Buffalo Foundation recently assisted with fundraising to deliver just under 250 Qhubeka bicycles via the Murray High School into the community of Kwanokathula.
The Fix: How has Covid-19 affected the academies?
J.J: It’s been tough on the academies throughout the current pandemic. We are in the middle of additional fundraising campaigns to not only assist us with keeping the academies running at cost so they can survive through the lockdowns and new regulations but still be there for when some form of normality returns to life. We have several supporters who have coloured their hair, and beards in the 7 colours of the rainbow and we have also kicked off a campaign for employees to get their CEOs to either colour their hair or shave it into a mohican. Of course there is also our Buffalo Club for people who with to support us on a regular basis. This not only helps our academies survive but has also helped us provide food parcels to all of our academy families who have really struggled with food as they have lost their income as a result of the pandemic. Quella is a partnership we are super excited about as the funds raised will help us to not only maintain what we are currently doing but also help us make a difference to more young people including our UK academy plans.
The Fix: We know you are a committed cyclist yourself and have done some big rides here and back in South Africa. How has your cycling enthusiasm influenced your joint creation and support of The Buffalo Foundation:
JJ: My key reason is I want to make a real difference to as many young people’s lives as possible by giving them opportunities to flourish and enable their futures. We can have academies with any sport, it doesn’t have to be cycling, but for me cycling has not only helped me keep fit and healthy but also provided me with various networking opportunities, allowed me to experience some of the most incredible rides around the world including within the areas of our current SA academies, and make lifelong friends. I’m passionate and strongly believe cycling has been a catalyst to making a difference to those that are part of the academies.
The Fix: It’s been a pleasure Jan, we are delighted to be involved.
Take a look at a day in the life of Kwano Cycling Academy, one of the Foundation’s project partners.
The Buffalo Foundation custom bike can be ordered on-line on the Quella website for £575.00 and for every bike sold £120.00 will be donated straight to The Buffalo Foundation.