Bicycles changing the lives of school girls

Article, 29.11.2019

At least 1,000 female students are now able to reach school in a much faster and safer manner. Through the SDC-funded Bike2School4Girls programme, students can now commute to school in only 30 minutes, a journey that previously took an average of two hours.

Students from Kaselya Seconday School in Shinyanga with their bicycles
Students from Kaselya Seconday School in Shinyanga with their bicycles © Velafrica / Chimwemwe Mkandawire

The improved mobility has not only increased their time to study but also their feeling of safety as they do not have to start their journey in the dark anymore. The programme subsidized the purchase of second-hand bicycles for over 900 girls and another 100 girls from very poor families were granted bicycles for free.

The Embassy partnered with Velafrica, an NGO based in Switzerland that employs the unemployed and persons with disabilities to repair donated bicycles and prepare them for transportation. In Tanzania, Velafrica partners with two local social enterprises Vijana Bicycle Center (VBC) and Arusha Bicycle Center (ABC).

The centers or ‘bicycle hubs’ assemble the bikes, sell them and provide repair services. VBC and ABC also function as mini vocational training centers for youth. The selection of the beneficiaries is done by the Swiss and Tanzanian partners in collaboration with 46 secondary schools. For more information please visit Velafrica