Do you remember your first bike? Joan Igcas does. In fact it's only been about a year since she first learned how to ride it. You'd never guess it if you rode next to her. The roads she travels on her mile commute to school are steep and muddy...to say they are a challenge to navigate on a bicycle is an understatement. And she handles them like a pro.
Joan was one of about 80 students in Baclayon on the island of Bohol, Philippines to receive a bicycle through the program Bikes for the Philippines. Like many of her classmates, Joan had no idea how to ride a bike. She told us she was nervous and found it to be tiring:
As part of the school curriculum, the bike beneficiaries of this program are taught how to ride, proper handling skills, bike safety, and bike maintenance. Students are required to wear helmets and may only use the loaned bicycles to get to and from school.
Once they graduate, the bike is turned over to them and they may use it to continue their studies, get to and from work, or however they wish. The goal of the program is to keep kids enrolled in school. The bi-product has been creating hopes and dreams in young people who once had neither.
This program has been so successful in Baclayon, Bikes for the Philippines is now preparing to have a second container of bikes shipped through Bikes for the World to a new project in Maribojoc, a nearby community also on the island of Bohol.
You can follow their progress on facebook. To support the program, donations are accepted through Bikes for the World by indicating PHILIPPINES in the Designation Code Box on the donation form.