Hope has two wheels How World Bicycle Relief helps mobilize women and girls with bikes
In rural communities around the world, nearly one billion people face the challenge of distance, forced to walk miles each day to collect water, attend school, and access other vital services. A lack of transportation makes it harder to receive an education, sell goods at market, and get treatment for a variety of health concerns. And this distance, paired with slow, on-foot travel, disproportionately affects the lives of women and girls, who often face harassment and other safety concerns as they walk miles to care for themselves and their families.
World Bicycle Relief (WBR) provides purpose-built Buffalo Bicycles to people in rural regions across Africa and Colombia so they can conquer the challenge of distance, achieve independence, and thrive. WBR aims to donate 70% of their bikes to women and girls, and greater access to mobility has led to an increase in positive self-image, feelings of control, participation in local clubs, and more for females in these areas.
Want to help mobilize women and girls the world over?
Over the past two years, thanks to people like you, we’ve raised $3 million for World Bicycle Relief. This year, we’re gearing up to raise $1 million more. Want to get involved? A donation of $165 gets one purpose-built Buffalo Bicycle to someone who needs it, but any amount helps.
And, now through December 31, Trek will match all donations up to $375,000 so you can double your impact.
Buffalo Bicycle communities have seen:
28% reduction in girls’ absenteeism
66% increase in school punctuality
19% reduction in school dropouts
33% reduction in commute time
22% reduction in harassment on the way to school
Meet some Buffalo Bicycle recipients
Scholastica – Student, Kenya
Scholastica is a 17-year-old student who lives with her grandparents in Kenya. Every day, she wakes up at 4am to make a fire and cook for, bathe, and dress her younger cousins. Then, she transports her cousins to school on her Buffalo Bicycle before traveling to her own school, which is even farther away. Before receiving a Buffalo Bicycle, Scholastica was always tired from walking 7km to school, and she struggled to pay attention to her lessons. She also faced harassment on her route to and from home.
“When I was walking, the older boys would stop me and talk,” Scholastica says. “They offer a ride. When we arrive home, they say I don’t need to pay. They want something else. We stop because we are polite. Then they follow us any way they can. If we don’t listen to them, they might even throw something or hit us.
“With the bicycle, it’s hard for boys to flag me down,” Scholastica says. “Even before they do, I have already flown past them. Especially if we ride as a group of girls. The bicycle has boosted my confidence. I am not scared of boys anymore.”
Georgina – Dairy Farmer, Zambia
Georgina is a widowed 68-year-old woman who supports herself in Zambia by working her 21-acre dairy farm entirely on her own. She’s a member of the Palabana Dairy Cooperative, which allows her to market and sell her goods — but for a time, she had to walk 12km a day to reach the milk collection facility. And it’s not an easy journey — Georgina had to carry a 68 lb. can, which usually takes two people, over rough, unpaved roads. Often, her milk would spoil before she arrived.
Now, thanks to the sturdy rear rack of her Buffalo Bicycle, Georgina is able to deliver double the amount of milk she sold on foot so she can better support herself and her farm.
“Since the Buffalo Bicycle, I never failed to deliver milk,” Georgina says. “Not even a day.”
Royce – Community Health Volunteer, Zambia
Royce is a Community Health Volunteer (CHV) in Zambia, where high rates of poverty and HIV/AIDS mean a large portion of the population does not receive the medical care it needs. CHVs like Royce are helping to close the gap — but they often have to walk miles in order to reach patients’ homes. Prior to receiving a Buffalo Bicycle, Royce would wake up before sunrise to do her own chores before walking miles to reach her patients, and a lack of time and efficient transportation severely limited her impact.
Now, thanks to two wheels and a frame, the number of patients Royce can see in a day has increased from four to 18, allowing Royce to care for more HIV/AIDS patients, elderly community members, and orphans and other vulnerable children in surrounding villages.
Stella – Student, Kenya
Stella is a 19-year-old student and mother attending secondary school in Western Kenya. She gave birth to her daughter at the age of 16, which interrupted her schooling and her plans for the future. But Stella, determined to take her life into her own hands, wrote her exams, passed, and continued on to higher education.
Before her Buffalo Bicycle, Stella would wake each day at 3am to nurture her daughter, complete her chores, and walk 12km to school. Now, she can start her day two hours later, enjoying some well-deserved rest before continuing to shine as a mother, student, and Secretary of Sports at her school. She’s also working on using her bicycle as a money-making tool, transporting goods from her garden and fetching water for neighbors to help with her school fees.
And, like other women, Stella’s bike has also provided her with a sense of security.
“The path I walked to school passes a stand of motorbike riders. They want favors, my contact number, or to learn where I come from,” Stella says. “With the bicycle, I feel safe. I cycle past the motorbike operator’s sheds, and I’m not worried about them stopping me.”
About the Author: Trek
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