In rural Africa, every student’s struggle to finish her education is different. Financial difficulties, early parenthood, familial expectations, distance, and lack of transportation can all impact a student’s ability to get to class every day. With a reliable bicycle, students can gain the time, energy, and confidence they need to rise above their individual challenges and stay on their educational path.
Thanks to you, thousands of students have received bicycles that help them complete their education. Read on to discover the many ways bicycles have helped students in Kenya stay in school.
Seventeen-year-old Phoebe is a high-achieving student with a passion for biology. When her single mother was forced to choose between paying for food or school fees, Phoebe secured a scholarship and a bicycle – and continued her education. Now she can dream of achieving greatness like her hero, Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai.
Eunice is a soft-spoken sixteen-year-old orphan who lives in an overcrowded dorm. Thirty girls sleep in twenty-four beds, some without mattresses. Despite her challenges, Eunice’s confidence is on the rise. Awarded Most Improved Student in all of Form II, Eunice uses her bicycle to continue advancing in school and to help procure food for her orphanage. Eunice’s bicycle has helped her find her voice.
Nineteen-year-old Stella stopped attending school after the birth of her daughter. She was daunted by single parenting, friction with her stepmother, a lack of school fees, and her 12km commute to school. With a bicycle, Stella is now back in school and attending regularly, and she also serves as Secretary of the Bicycle Supervisory Committee. With a bicycle, Stella is inspired to excel.
Sixteen-year-old Julianna lives with her uncle, his wives and six of their eleven children who still live at home. In exchange for providing childcare and helping prepare meals, Julianna receives the school fees she needs to complete her secondary school education. With home quite far from school, she would not be able to manage her chores and arrive to school on time each day without her bicycle. Today, Julianna can take pride in her own contributions to getting her education.
A bicycle helped eighteen-year-old Conceptah’s GPA improve a full grade in her last year of school. While her grades won’t qualify her for college, her bicycle has helped Conceptah stay focused on a stable future in farming and avoid early marriage and pregnancy. Conceptah plans to pass her bike along to her younger sister, who has time to make bigger educational strides.
Fifteen-year-old Mary Lucy has inherited a knack for fixing flats and a love of cycling from her father, a motorcycle mechanic. She regularly transports her mother with a large load of potatoes to market on the weekends, which gives them a much earlier start. Now they get a better price and sell out before the end of the day, earning more money for her family and her education.
Seventeen-year-old Scholastica lives with her grandfather and uncle to be within riding distance to school. In exchange for room and board, Scholastica transports her younger nieces to their primary school each day and cares for them after her classes. This arrangement, made possible due to time saved by riding, allows time for all of the girls to do their homework each evening.
Out of school for two years, Domatila worked odd jobs for her pastor and his wife to help her own family make ends meet. Proving herself invaluable, the couple took her in. Her earnings increased to include school fees, enabling Domatila to return to class. Now she rides, filled with gratitude for both her bicycle’s and her sponsors’ help in overcoming her long-standing obstacles.
Sixteen-year-old Ayan was the first girl in her community to ride a bicycle. Her achievement inspires other girls to cycle to school and results in increased self-esteem and rising confidence among her peers. Now Ayan has confidence in her future.
Sixteen-year-old Salwa relied on public transportation to get to school. The vehicles were often too full for her to hop in and the long walk made her late. She has discovered that the bicycle teaches perseverance. “If you fall down, you just get back up,” Salwa says. With her bicycle, Salwa is gaining confidence that will persist even off the bike.
For eighteen-year-old Susan, education has helped her exceed her expectations. She is encouraged to explore her potential and make new friends. Every minute of her day is precious. Susan’s bicycle has given her time for curiosity, which will help her discover her path in life.