Today, World Bicycle Relief announced Wheels in the Field: Zambia,The Next Generation, its July campaign to raise funds and provide life-changing bicycles for students in need, and it’s a great time to donate as you can give two bikes for the price of one! All funds raised in July, up to £189,000, ($240,000), will be matched by a group of generous supporters that include Backroads, Thomson Reuters, and individual donors.
You might remember our forum members joined in with a similar match funding campaign before Christmas, and just a few weeks ago we had a hands on look at the Buffalo Bikes that are being provided and making such a difference to people’s lives.
Over four million children live in poverty in Zambia and over 375,000 children in rural regions are not enrolled in school. Many factors contribute to children not attending school. For rural students, a common and significant barrier to accessing education is distance; students often face long, exhausting walks over difficult terrain. For girl students, who are also required to perform hours of domestic chores in the morning, a long walk proves even more challenging. Students often arrive late and tired and academic performances suffer, if they manage to stay in school at all.
Access to a high quality bicycle dramatically changes educational outcomes. A study of the Education Programme highlighted a 28% increase in student attendance and a 59% increase academic performance. World Bicycle Relief has delivered over 50,000 bicycles to students in Zambia since 2009.
Belita is a student in Zambia who received her bicycle in 2012. Before receiving her bicycle, she woke at 5am to walk 10km round-trip to school. Even skipping morning chores didn’t always help her arrive to school on time. Belita dreaded the slap on her wrist in front of the whole class, her punishment for being late. Just one year later, Belita was riding to school and arriving on time every day, helping her grandmother with chores and thriving in school. Belita has plans to attend nurses’ training college.
“We have seen first-hand the immediate impact the bicycles have on students- especially girl students who are able to complete their domestic chores and still get to school on time with the help of a bicycle,” said Dave Neiswander, President of World Bicycle Relief.
“With the simple addition of a high quality bicycle, students can stay focused on their school work and achieve their educational goals. We are dedicated to helping this next generation of Zambian students access education and become leaders and within their communities and beyond.”
Maybe you’ve got a spare few quid, maybe you could set up a challenge and persuade others to sponsor you, or maybe you could just tell some flush friends about this campaign. Head here to find out more or donate.