Bikes for the World

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Getting Back To School

The desire to stay in school is often challenged by the need to drop out for many poorer children in remote areas of the world. In villages around the globe, where students often live several miles from school without affordable transportation, drop-out rates in high schools and even middle schools are soaring.

Yellow Boat of HOPE provides boats for Filipino students
Many rural communities often have rocky, narrow paths leading from students' homes to their far off schools. In the Philippines, which is a country of small islands, some students even have to cross water in order to attend school.

Adding to the challenge of simply getting to school, many families cannot afford to have their children away from home for long periods of time. Many are responsible for household chores, caring for siblings, and even working in the community to help their families.

As students become older and enter high school, their commutes often become longer, sometimes 2-3 hours of their days. They have less time for homework and find themselves tired in the classroom. For a family that may earn only $25 US a week, having that child drop out to help around the house is often better for the family.

But ultimately not better for the child. Or the community. Education is the key to making their communities better and their governments stronger. Shortening commutes and giving back the to the families the precious resource of time is a good place to start. And a bicycle is a great way to accomplish that.

In Honduras, one family is struggling with more than just how to get to school; Norma, the mother of three sons, cannot afford to send her oldest son back to school. When Ronaldo entered seventh grade, he was walking two hours every day in extreme heat, just to get to and from school. He ended up dropping out.

Now Ronaldo is 15 and wants to go back to school. He is the oldest of three boys and wants to set a good example for his brothers. He also realized he couldn't reach his potential without a degree. Unfortunately, his family did not have the economic resources to help him re-enroll.

But just this month, thanks to the partnership with Bikes for the World, Adelante, a micro-finance program in Honduras, is addressing this problem. They are not only assisting by getting bikes to rural areas to help kids with transportation to school, but they are also helping provide loans for school associated costs.

Profits from the bike project will help fund a Secondary Education Loan initiative created to support family's like Ronaldo's. This will help with the high cost of uniforms, textbooks, and administration fees required at the beginning of a school year allowing Ronaldo to fulfill his dream of continuing his education.

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