Thanks to supporters like you, World Bicycle Relief (WBR) started its first Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP) in Zambia in 2009. To date, you’ve helped more than 50,000 Zambian students take ownership of the durable, reliable bicycles they need to achieve their educational dreams.
In 2010, 13-year-old Priscah received a Buffalo Bicycle to help her get to class at Chikanda Basic School in Central Zambia. Before then, she would walk for four hours a day to travel the 16 km (10 miles) round trip to and from school.
“I used to be tired, doze off and lacked concentration in class,” she said. Read Priscah’s story.
Thanks to her bicycle, Priscah graduated primary school with better sleep and more energy – and dreams of becoming a doctor. Priscah’s parents have since purchased a second Buffalo Bicycle to improve the family business, access healthcare and travel to and from school. In all, eight people have benefited from one bicycle.
Since 2000, Zambia has implemented several initiatives focused on expanding access to education, particularly for girls. Yet Priscah’s move to secondary school still defies the odds.
CHILD MARRIAGE WOULD DROP 64% IF ALL GIRLS HAD SECONDARY EDUCATION1
In rural areas, the dropout rate for students – particularly girls – increases with age. In Zambia, grade 7 girls dropped out of school at more than double the rate of boys, according to a World Bank analysis. By grade 11, girls drop out at more than three times the rate of male peers.
Girls face obstacles to education such as a greater number of chores at home, safety on routes, child marriage and pregnancy.
In fact, over the past decade, Zambia has experienced a problem with pregnancies among school girls, according to the “Education for All 2015 National Review Report: Zambia.” The majority of the 15,000 pregnancies reported annually occur in rural areas where girls are subjected to unsafe learning environments. Girls, who relocate to boarding houses because of long distances to school, risk falling prey to sexual predators. This leads to an escalation in teenage pregnancies in a country where the maternal mortality rate is among the highest in Africa.
At WBR, we recognize the value in breaking down barriers for girls. That’s why we distribute 70% of our bicycles to girls. But so many girls remain without a safe, reliable transportation option to and from school.
The need for bicycles still is tremendous
For both male and female students, distance remains the major roadblock to education. Children often spend hours every day walking to and from school. With access to a bicycle, however, students spend significantly less time traveling. They also arrive to class with energy to learn.
The need for robust bicycles in rural Zambia is great and there is still unmet demand. By expanding BEEP in Zambia this year, you can help bring more bicycles to more students and brighter futures to more rural areas.
WITH A BICYCLE, ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE INCREASES UP TO 59%2
Your Investment in Zambia Leads to Greater Impact
Your help in funding more philanthropic programs in Zambia, where BEEP is well established, will reach more students in need and strengthen the sustainable ecosystem for the whole community.
We have also had the opportunity to learn how our program can improve over the past eight years. Conversations with end-users, field mechanics, teachers, dealers and partners all inform the improvements we make to our bicycle design, program design and aftermarket support systems. Funded by our generous donors, each innovation in bicycle infrastructure deepens the impact, improves sustainability and lowers philanthropic program costs.
With your continued investment in BEEP, we are able to deepen these infrastructure investments. Together, we can multiply the benefits for students, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs for years to come.
With hundreds of thousands of children not in school, the need is still immense. Help us create immediate and powerful change in Zambia.