Did you travel to school or work today? How did you get there, and how long did it take?
For students in Malawi, an average trip to school can take 1.5-2 hours (each way!), walking 3 – 10 kilometers (that’s 1.85 – 6.2 miles). Because of these long journeys, many students eventually drop out; a full 57% of Malawi students never finish primary school.
Through World Bicycle Relief’s Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP), together we can empower students and their families with life-changing bicycles that reduce the challenges of long-distance travel. Join us in funding 2,000 bicycles for Malawian students, including Sheila, Esme, Matthias and Aleni.
Fifteen-year-old Sheila wants to become a nurse to help prevent needless deaths in her community. She loves studying English and math, but Sheila has a hard time staying awake in class and completing her homework at night. After spending four hours a day walking to and from school, she has many chores to do when she arrives at home in the evening. Often, there just aren’t enough hours of sunlight in the day for her to finish both her chores and her schoolwork. A bicycle would give her more time to concentrate on her homework and make it possible to ride to church and the clinic.
Esme is a bright 15-year-old who, like Sheila, also wants to become a nurse. She believes that the biggest school-related challenges facing her and her peers are the journeys to school. Not only are they very long (Esme travels 5-6 km each way), but girl students are also in danger of assaults on their safety and dignity as they walk alone. A bicycle would make Esme’s travels both shorter and safer. It would also help her family transport more maize to the mill, giving her family the opportunity to improve their business.
Fifteen-year-old Matthias is studying math and English and loves to play soccer with his friends. As he walks a total of 16km to and from school each day, older boys sometimes steal his possessions. Perhaps that explains why he intends to become a crime-fighting soldier when he grows up. A bicycle would give Matthias some protection on his journey while also making it possible for him to pick up goods for his family at the market.
Aleni leaves her home at 5:30 am to walk 7km to school, a journey that takes more than 2 hours. She usually arrives home again at 4:30 pm. Aleni loves to study English and Bible Knowledge and sing in her church choir. At just 11 years old, Aleni still has years of schooling to attend before fulfilling her goal of becoming a nurse. Imagine how many hours we could give back to her by shortening her commute with a simple bicycle!
There are many more students like Sheila, Esme, Matthias and Aleni in Malawi. They are determined to remain in school despite the difficult and even dangerous journeys they must take to get there. Buffalo Bicycles will help them realize their full potential to work in fields like medicine, law enforcement, engineering, and more.
Will you help us give them the Power of Bicycles?