Chicago, IL – World Bicycle Relief announced today the start of its year-end campaign for donations, its annual appeal for funds that will provide life-changing bicycles to students living in rural developing countries. Donations received now through December 31, 2016, will be matched dollar-for-dollar with the potential of delivering thousands of bicycles to students who are at risk of dropping out of school due to the challenge of distance and personal safety on the way to school.
This year’s year-end campaign, A Way Forward, focuses attention on girl students. Over 29 million girls around the world do not attend secondary school. Many factors contribute to girls dropping out of school in much higher numbers than boys: obligatory household chores, distance to school, sexual assault and child marriage. These barriers stand between young girls and bright futures. A high-quality bicycle can remove these barriers, keep girls in school and keep them safe as they travel to school. World Bicycle Relief is committed to breaking down these barriers for girls, helping them achieve their educational goals and become change-makers within their communities and around the world.
“I understand very well what girls go through to get an education. It is not easy, but it is possible. They have a lot of challenges, but if well taken care of, once the girls succeed in life, they play a big role in society. The dropout rate of the girls can be very high because of many factors. One of them we have observed is the long distance of going to school, especially when they are walking,” says the Honorable Ebbe Kavai, Minister of Education, Western Province of Kenya.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals call for an improvement in quality of life for millions of people in developing countries with special attention placed on girls and women. As history has shown, when girls and women do better, the society as a whole does better. As stated by the UN in their declaration of 2015, “if effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world.” A crucial component of this support is education.
Data from UNESCO highlights that in poorer areas, girls are even less likely than boys to go to school. When girls do not get an education that makes them more likely to be poor for the rest of their lives. And girls in poor families are less likely to get an education to begin with- thus the system perpetuates itself. When this cycle is broken, there are long-term benefits.
A Way Forward highlights the stories of girl students attending the Bukhaywa Secondary School in Kenya who received Buffalo Bicycles in 2015 and 2016. One of the students, Dianah, is 18 years old and focused on her goal of becoming a college professor. Dianah’s parents and teachers believe in her future. Dianah’s mother remembers how Dianah was often late to school because she was forced to walk, even though she left very early in the morning. She also worried about Dianah’s safety.
“As a mother, I was fearing for Dianah so much. And I would feel that she might not even finish her education because of the risks facing her on the way. I was very worried. My first reaction when I heard of the bicycle- I was very happy and prayed to God that my daughter would be one of the students who would receive the bicycle. I was ready at any cost to get the bicycle for my daughter. Now that she has the bicycle, I have never worried about Dianah’s going and coming back from school,” says Rofina, Dianah’s mother.
Monica Mudonidongo, the Vice Principal of the Bukhaywa Secondary School has seen a dramatic change in student attendance and academic achievement since the bicycles were introduced. “We are now able to keep all of the girls in school and prevent early pregnancies and marriages. Once the students are educated, we will get more doctors, nurses- the whole community will come up,” says Monica Mudonidongo.
Over the past ten years, World Bicycle Relief has mobilized students, especially girl students, who face long, difficult and often dangerous journeys to school. World Bicycle Relief believes a simple, sturdy bicycle has the power to change lives. By providing a girl a way to get to school safely, she’s empowered to stay in school, get an education and break through the limitations holding her back. World Bicycle Relief is confident that the power of bicycles can play an influential role in progress for girls in Kenya and other developing countries.
Join World Bicycle Relief this holiday season in changing the future for thousands of bright, dedicated and passionate girls who will achieve great things for themselves and the world given access to an education.
You can make A Way Forward for girls like Dianah this holiday season by donating to World Bicycle Relief year-end campaign here: https://worldbicyclerelief.org/forward
About World Bicycle Relief
Founded in 2005, World Bicycle Relief mobilizes people through The Power of Bicycles®. World Bicycle Relief accomplishes its mission by distributing specially designed, high-quality bicycles through philanthropic and social enterprise programs. These purpose designed bicycles are built to withstand the challenging terrain and conditions in rural, developing areas. Entrepreneurs use the bicycles to increase productivity and profits. Students attend class more regularly and their academic performances improve. And, health care workers visit more patients in less time, providing better, more consistent care. World Bicycle Relief also promotes local economies and long-term sustainability by assembling bicycles locally and training field mechanics to service the bicycles. To date, World Bicycle Relief has delivered over 300,000 bicycles and trained over 1,200 field mechanics in Africa, Southeast Asia and South America. World Bicycle Relief is a registered nonprofit in USA, Canada, U.K. and Germany, and has assembly facilities in Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa and Angola.
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