In an age of #MeToo and #TimesUp, this International Women’s Day spare a thought for the women and girls of Sub-Saharan Africa, who face sexual assault as a daily challenge on their way to school, and commute to work.
Imagine you are a girl living in the Sub Saharan region of Africa. Every day you wake up, do two hours of household chores, walk two and a half hours to school and arrive exhausted and unmotivated to learn. At the end of the day, you face the choice of a two and a half hour walk home or taking the offer of a lift on a motorcycle ridden by a strange man waiting on the side of the road as you walk home. For so many girls this is their reality. The chance of getting assaulted or raped by the men on motorcycles is high. Often these girls take up marriage proposals at 12 or 13, just to escape from the daily life they live.
This International Women’s Day, World Bicycle Relief is asking women in Australia to get behind these girls and help them forge a better life for themselves. World Bicycle Relief raises money to provide these girls with Buffalo Bicycles, built for the rough terrain and easy to repair.
With these bicycles, the girls’ journey to school is much shorter and helps protect them from harm. It’s been shown in studies conducted by World Bicycle Relief that students who have access to a bike have increased their school attendance by 28%, and their academic performance has improved by 59%.
Priscah received a bicycle while she was in grade six at Chikanda Basic School in Mumbwa District, Zambia. Before her bicycle, Priscah would wake at 5 a.m. to walk the 8km to school in time for class at 7 a.m. As punishment for late attendance, Priscah was tasked with completing chores while class was in session. Even when she made it to school on time, her exhaustion made learning difficult. “I used to be tired, doze off and lacked concentration in class,” she said.
After receiving a Buffalo Bicycle, Priscah was able to get an extra hour of sleep each morning and take care of her morning chores. Priscah now dreams of becoming a doctor.
It only costs $195 to put a Buffalo Bicycle into the hands of those who need it most. So this International Women’s Day please donate to www.worldbicyclerelief.org
Women Love Tech would like to thank Jocelyn Petrie for writing this story.