SchoolCycle

She's already going places. With a bike, you're helping her go further.

Through the SchoolCycle initiative, Girl Up aims to help eliminate one of the biggest obstacles keeping girls out of school: distance. With a bike, she can obtain the education she needs to create a better future.

What is SchoolCycle?

Launched in 2014, SchoolCycle is an initiative to provide bicycles to girls to help them access education and stay in school. Through the SchoolCycle initiative, Girl Up aims to help eliminate one of the biggest obstacles keeping girls out of school: distance. A bike can help a girl travel quickly and safely to and from school, and gives her the independence to travel freely around her community. That way, she can obtain the education she needs to create a better future for herself, her family and her community.

How does SchoolCycle work?

A $125 donation provides a bike, spare parts and maintenance training to girls in greatest need identified by our UN partners. Girl Up collects monetary donations from our supporters to send to the UN officials who procure and distribute the bikes.

Why bicycles?

A bike is the vehicle that can transform a girl’s life, so she can get the education she needs to create a better future. It can also serve as an incentive for those girls who have already left school due to pregnancy, work, or expense, to return to complete their education. In Guatemala, indigenous girls often live many miles from the closest secondary school, which forces them to walk long distances along dangerous terrain, often putting them at risk of experiencing violence or harassment during their commute. Six out of 10 indigenous adolescent girls in Guatemala leave school before age 15, oftentimes because their commute is too long and too dangerous. 

In Malawi, less than a quarter of girls finish primary school and only 9% graduate from secondary school. Poverty is one of the main factors preventing girls from staying in school, especially at the secondary level where public school costs money to attend. But another prevalent challenge is the long commute to school which can exceed 10 miles in each direction.


Meet Diana, a girl on the move

Diana, 12, is determined to stay in school and become a school teacher. Most of her friends did not continue beyond sixth grade because the middle school is far away, transportation and fees are expensive, and traveling alone every day is risky.

But Diana holds the key to continuing her education: a bike.

 


Learn More About Our Impact

When UN Foundation Press Fellows Zoe Fox and Lauren Bohn traveled to Malawi in 2013, they quickly realized that the girls they met needed bicycles.  The Mdinde Community Day Secondary School they visited was the only secondary school in a 37 mile radius. The girl students would often sleep on the floor of the school rather than make the exhausting journey home at the end of the day. Zoe and Lauren’s background in journalism helped to spread the stories of these girls which in turn led to their collaboration with Girl Up. While the SchoolCycle story started in Malawi, it continued to Guatemala. Learn more.

Malawi 2014

In 2014, Girl Up supporters raised enough funds to provide 550 bicycles to girls in Malawi. In September 2015, these bicycles were distributed in two villages: Katuli in the township of Mangochi and Masache in the township of Chikhwawa.  All girls received spare parts kits alongside the bicycles which included front and rear tires, spokes, pumps and patching kits. Girls received maintenance training in order to repair their own bicycles and some are now generating their own income by repairing bikes of other community members. By the end of 2015, adolescent girls’ school attendance in those two communities had improved by 21.4%. These bicycles have also enabled girls to access and attend youth clubs where they learn sexual education, life skills, and trade skills such as tailoring, brick laying, electrical installation and the production of sanitary pads.

Guatemala 2015

In 2015, Girl Up expanded SchoolCycle to Guatemala. When the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) saw the success of SchoolCycle in Malawi, they asked Girl Up to fund bicycles for girls in Guatemala, too—in the Department of Petén, a northern area of Guatemala with a high proportion of rural, indigenous peoples. Girl Up supporters raised enough money for 200 bicycles, which will be distributed by the UN in February 2017.  Bicycles will go to girls who are currently out-of-school but now have the opportunity to enroll in a second chance program.