It’s dawn in the rolling rice fields of Northern Isabela in the Philippines. Lovelyn, 15, is preparing breakfast early for her family so that she can leave in time for the long walk to school. Through dusty fields or mud soaked patties (depending on the season), Lovelyn’s trip to school has always taken an hour each day–until now. She now has a Buffalo Bicycle to traverse the long distance thanks to the ING Orange Bike project in partnership with ING and World Vision Philippines.
In 2013, the Dutch financial institution ING turned to its country’s cycling roots and launched the ING Orange Bike project. This program aims to mobilize students in the Philippines who walk long distances in adverse conditions to reach school. Over five years, the ING Orange Bike project sponsored 5,000 new bicycles for students. The initiative, built on the BEEP model, hopes to improve attendance and academic performance while giving children and families a chance for a better future.
With her ING Orange Bike, Lovelyn is more determined than ever to finish school. She hopes to one day become a nurse and help out her single mother with family finances. And things are already changing–Lovelyn is regularly acknowledged at school for punctuality. She also now has time to participate in extracurricular activities.
Her mother uses the bicycle to travel to their farm and says the bicycle saves time and has already helped increase income for the family business.
Every day is an exciting journey since I got my orange bike!” says Lovelyn. “My walking is over, which often consumed my time for studying and doing extracurricular activities at school and in the community.”
Lovelyn is committed to helping both her family and her community. As a member of the local Bicycle Supervisory Committee, she helps to monitor the program’s success.
“I can do things efficiently through my orange bike and I want to give back to the community, recognizing the significant change it brings to my life.”
Life-changing transportation does more than just affect the practical aspects of day-to-day life in the Philippines. it also plays a big role in general well-being and happiness in life and relationships. Lovelyn says she has more time to spend with friends and family. The bike allows her to get home in time to help her mom on the farm, which she sees as valuable bonding time.
This year, Lovelyn graduated and was awarded 7th Honorable Mention in her school.
“I thank the orange bike for helping me in my learning journey. I am truly grateful to ING for providing these orange bikes, and to World Vision, for keeping us on track to meet the goals of this project.”