At Chippapa Primary School in Zambia, hundreds of students are experiencing the Power of Bicycles thanks to a partnership between World Bicycle Relief and Theo Chocolate. In 2013, students at Chippapa Primary school (70% girls) received 200 Buffalo bicycles via WBR’s Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP) in partnership with World Vision.
One of those students is Exildah Malambo. Exildah received her Buffalo Bicycle when she was in sixth grade. Two years later, Exildah and her family are still using the bike — and she has noticed major changes in her lifestyle.
Before I owned a bicycle, I walked more than two hours across hilly terrain each day to attend school. With a bicycle, my commute now takes 30 minutes. I am happy to arrive at school on time, unlike in the past. I no longer reach school tired and now I am able to concentrate in class when learning.”
Exildah also noted that her performance in school has improved greatly–when she recently sat for her grade 7 exams, which would determine her readiness to graduate to grade 8, she surpassed the minimum grade needed by 140 marks! She proudly reported that she got an A+.
When Exildah is not in school, she’s often studying her favorite subject, science, or playing netball with friends. Her grandparents use the bike during those times, allowing them to access treatment at the clinic, run errands at the market and take their maize to a grinding mill so they can use it for meals at home. Because of Exildah’s new ease of transportation, she has more time at home to study and her grandparents have more time to provide for their family’s needs.
Mr. Chingalika Stainly, the head of Chippapa Primary School, explained the benefit of the bike to students like Exildah:
“The bicycles play an important role for pupils and families because they enhance the standard of living for people by enabling them to easily access schools, markets and community meetings.
He also attested to the fact that attendance rate and overall performance has improved among the pupils at the school, noting that the general pass rate has increased by nearly 10% since the bike distribution in 2013.
Exildah’s story is one among many in the Chippapa community. WBR’s BEEP distributions are helping students and families realize their goals in education, economic progress and personal growth. Exildah expressed that she foresees a bright future for herself because of the bicycle. She’s hopeful that one day she will realize her dream of becoming a doctor.
Photo credits: Banda Chella, World Vision Zambia