We are very excited about our projects and we hope that you will be as well. Our focus is to provide functional bikes to schools and health-care clinics in developing countries in Africa.
The bicycles given to heath-care clinics are to support individual providers in their efforts to serve and care for more patients by having access to a mode of transportation.
The bicycles given to schools become the property of the schools, not the children. This assures that many generations of students benefit from each bike. The bikes are used by the students to get to and from school only. They are not to be used by other family members or other students. They are not to be used to run errands or chores. The purpose of the bike is to help make their education more accessible. In collaboration with the schools, we have identified three criteria used to determine who receives a bicycle:
1) The students who travel the longest distance to school have priority.
2) The students who are working the hardest and show good promise ofacademic success have priority.
3) Girls have priority over boys. Girls are more likely to drop-out of school than boys due to having more chores and pressure to get married.
There are several reasons why children in developing countries in Africa might not be able to attend school on a regular basis. The primary reason is extreme poverty and with this poverty comes increased responsibilities. Consequently, school-aged children are responsible for such activities as caring for younger siblings, tending to the crops and fields, and collecting water and wood. These responsibilities become priorities over attending school. Another common reason is due to the distance between home and school. In many instances, this distance can be several to a dozen miles, or more. The commute time often leaves little time to complete household responsibilities-not to mention the exhaustion factor. For these reasons, many children in Africa stop going to school while still in the elementary grades.
If the child has access to a bike however, he or she can reduce the amount of time commuting to and from school to a fraction of the time it takes to walk the same distance. A bike allows the child to keep up with his/her responsibilities, get to school in less time and with less effort, and reduces the exposure to dangers on the way. Plus, providing the child with a bike can serve as a huge incentive to go and stay in school. The bottom line is that the bike allows the child access to an education and a chance to succeed and we at Pedals for Africa believe that education is the foundation to a life without poverty.