On time savings and access to healthcare:
Beyond getting his two children to school regularly, Jeremiah recognizes the Buffalo Bicycle as “a valuable tool for the family.” He is so grateful that it “makes going to the clinic handy since there are no limitations on what time you can move.”
Jeremiah coins this asset as “essential to meeting family needs. Just like a vehicle, the bike reduces distance, and you can arrive at any time when faced with a problem.”
On what it was like when parents attended Kalonda as young students, conquering distance and why the bicycle is important for girls:
Anderson: “This year, we have seen the difference with children here who have stopped school because of the distance. Now they conquer these distances with the bicycles. I used to miss class too. Sometimes I would be frustrated and turn back and go home. We would attend two weeks out of a month of school. Now our children attend all the time.”
Regis: “Children reach home on time. They no longer have the disturbances of walking. By using the bicycle, they will not fall into the temptation of sleeping with the guy – no unwanted pregnancies.”
Mabis: “Girls are very enthusiastic; this has brought in a driving force [towards their education]. Even on the issue of early marriage, they are not interested. They want to be in school.”
Regis: “The difference is that in olden times, children play in the roads, they come home late. Now they come home and help, which makes a smooth interaction. Riding is the play!”
On why the bicycle is important for girls:
Many Fathers at Kalonda Primary School appreciate that there are more BEEP bicycles going to girl students than boys. The way they see it, “for a male child, it’s easy for them to move physically to school. A boy can easily run faster and longer.”
Sunny’s first born child is a girl. Though he agrees with his buddies, he is also very proud of Nchimunya’s strength, saying, “We are finding it easy for all four children to come on one bicycle.” Without her bicycle, Nchimunya would either have to leave the families two younger children at home or walk very slowly and risk the consequences of tardiness.
World Bicycle Relief comes alongside schools who are dedicated to improving the educational opportunities for primary school-aged children. Kebben, a Bicycle Supervisory Committee Member (right) remembers what getting an education was like when he was young. “In olden times, we would start late. Our parents would delay us. I started at age 10. Now preschoolers, they begin at age five and are able to attend Early Childhood Education.”
He is happy for the students’ peace of mind with transportation. “The bicycle is easy to maintain. No fuel buying, so running costs are minimal. As long as you have something in your stomach, you can cycle.”
Samuel compares the children’s bicycle transportation to other convenient tools of education. “The difference I have seen in their education compared to ours is that the syllabus and subjects have changed. In olden times, we would just hear about computers. Now children see them. They now have a variety of subjects which help them diversify their education, especially in the sciences. Most of our work was chalkboard work. Now they have leaflets of printouts from those computers. Everything comes faster. For all this, their lives have improved.”
Written by Leah Missbach Day
Leah is Cofounder of World Bicycle Relief. Whenever she can, Leah spends extended time Africa documenting and sharing the voices of women and girls through her series of photos and stories on World Bicycle Relief’s blog, ‘Voices from the Field”.