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A cycle to work scheme that can save lives

This is a cycle to work scheme with a difference.

At the Chinyika Clinic in Zimbabwe’s Gutu District, Janet pedals until she is under the shade of a tree. Enthusiastic cheers greet her as she dismounts and props her bike against its trunk.

The people gathered at the clinic are there to receive their monthly HIV medication and check-up. As the Community HIV and AIDS Support Agent (CHASA), Janet’s role is to support clients while they are at the clinic – offering advice, support and guidance to people living with HIV.

Janet, the Community HIV and AIDS Support Agent at the Chinyika Clinic in Zimbabwe.

Janet, the Community HIV and AIDS Support Agent at the Chinyika Clinic in Zimbabwe.

Gutu District is a rural area where villages and communities are spread out over a huge distance. In order to effectively offer support, Janet must travel extensively to meet with people in their homes. This was once a daunting task, one that involved hours spent on foot.

The Gift of Change of a bicycle has changed everything for Janet.

Today, she can cycle from village to village, reducing travelling times to a fraction of what they were. Most importantly, it means that she can now see more clients each day, ensuring they are receiving the support they need.

“People can talk to me,” Janet explains. “They feel free to say what is on their minds. I give examples of myself. I say that people should look at me – I have been living positively now for almost ten years, I am happy and I am fit.”

Across Zimbabwe, there are many people like Janet who are working to support people living with HIV. The impact they have is restricted by the number of people they can feasibly visit in one day across this vast land.


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