Feature: Cycling program keeping Zambian youth from harmful activities

  • World
  • Wednesday, 29 Nov 2023

LIVINGSTONE, Zambia, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- For many youths in Zambia's tourist capital Livingstone, access to sporting and other recreational programs was a pipe dream in the past, which forced many of them to resort to excessive alcohol consumption or engage in harmful activities.

However, the establishment of Impact Generation Global Movement, an entity that was formed in March 2022 to provide young people in Livingstone town with the tools and support they need to stay away from drugs, overcome behavioral challenges, and address mental health issues is helping to change the narrative.

Through cycling competitions and community outreach programs conducted on weekends and holidays under its Cycling For Change initiative, Impact Generation Global Movement is fostering positive change and creating a better future for youths in Livingstone.

Impact Generation Global Movement founder Fred Mbewe explained that the organization has since reached over 1,000 youths in Livingstone aged seven to 25 years, through the Cycle For Change initiative.

Mbewe mentioned that aside from cycling ventures, youths participating in the Cycle For Change initiative also conduct community work such as cleaning surroundings at old people's homes and distributing leaflets and fliers on mental health and life skills. The youths also get involved in leadership, mentorship and life skills programs.

"Most youths come with their own bicycles and participate in cycling competitions where they exhibit their skills. For those that do not own bicycles the organization hires bicycles for them," Mbewe said.

He further stated that Impact Generation Global Movement is working to raise funds to purchase at least 100 bicycles to be used by youths who are not able to afford bicycles but are willing to participate in cycling activities.

"The idea is to encourage as many young people as possible to take part in cycling so that they have no time to be idle," Mbewe added.

Susan Lishomwa, a 19-year-old beneficiary of Cycle For Change, speaks passionately about the organization's transformative impact on her life.

"Before getting involved with Cycle For Change, I was easily influenced by negative peer pressure. But through cycling events, mentorship and counseling programs, I have gained confidence, discipline, and a sense of purpose," she said.

Lishomwa who has been taking part in the Cycle For Change programs for almost a year now further revealed that she once used to drink and abuse alcohol because of peer pressure.

"Cycle For Change has shown me that I have the strength within me to overcome any obstacle and achieve my dreams," she said.

Lishomwa's mother Thandiwe Mwale, 46, expressed gratitude for the positive influence Cycle For Change has had on her daughter's life.

"Since joining Cycle For Change, I have noticed a significant change in my daughter's behavior and outlook on life. She has become more responsible, motivated, and focused on productive venture," Mwale observed.

Gift Chijumba, another enthusiastic 19-year-old participant in Cycle For Change, echoed Lishomwa's sentiments.

"Cycling has become my passion, and it has helped me channel my energy into something positive and enabled me to be both mentally and physically fit," Chijumba explained.

He added that aside from the aforesaid benefits, participating in cycling as a sport has taught him the importance of perseverance and goal setting.

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