She Cycles On
Organized by: Emma Lutz
Over 1,200 miles later!
July 08, 2016
Emma and Liv are recent Bates College graduates who are joining together for a ride along the Pacific Coast. Our decision to bike from Canada to Mexico this summer stems from our own interest in exploring the west coast by bike but also from a desire to continue to work on our own self-confidence as young females. We are looking to face a physical challenge that will empower us to make personal changes in our own lives as well as work to empower one another along the ride. In addition, throughout the journey we would also like to dedicate ourselves to promoting female youth empowerment, something that we are both very passionate about.
We are partnering with an organization founded by Bates College professor Aimée Bessire, Africa Schoolhouse (ASH), to raise money for the latest ASH project which is an all female boarding school. Africa Schoolhouse is a grass-roots organization dedicated to bringing quality education, medical care, job training and clean water to rural villages in Tanzania. ASH was founded on relationships with Tanzanians that go back several decades. These intimate relationships mean that ASH builds Tanzanian schools for Tanzanians, listening and taking direction from the people in the community. Africa Schoolhouse has a holistic vision, employing a fully local staff for each project--viewing each building project as an opportunity to offer job training to the men and women living in the communities.
Africa Schoolhouse, above all else, wants to construct excellent schools that will help generations of children live holsitic and healthy lives while safeguarding their cultural heritage. We strongly believe in the mission of Africa Schoolhouse and the people behind the work. Liv and I are standing behind ASH to help raise money for the Milembe Girls School. Currently only 1% of Tanzanian girls complete secondary school. They face serious obstacles on the road to education--including everything from families who privilege the education of sons over daughters, to girls being married off at young ages, and unsafe journeys to school. A lack of infrastructure means walking for hours on unpaved roads to get to school. Assault is not uncommon. Despite these challenges, girls are determined to make the journey.
The Milembe Girls School will provide a safe living situation for young women to successfully complete their studies, grow into empowered, independent adults, and impact future generations. When complete, the school campus will include: 10 dormitories (each with 40 girls), 10 classrooms, 4 laboratories, a multi-purpose dining hall, kitchen, 14 houses for teachers and dorm mothers, administrative building, library, infirmary, showers and composting latrines, sports fields and netball courts, guard house, and surrounding campus wall. In addition to a standard academic curriculum, the school will also promote leadership, STEM, entrepreneurship, social justice and care for the environment.
We, as young women who have had the distinct privilege of a college education, want to give back to the many girls around the world who struggle to access basic education. We want to empower ourselves as young women going on a self-supported trip of 2,000 miles with the ultimate goal of supporting as many other young women as possible to believe themselves capable and worthy of any achievement. As part of our bike tour we will be connecting with the Milembe girls through a photo dialogue on social media (through shared Instagrams and our blog). We are planning to carry on a conversation about female strength and empowerment as we learn from one another what this really means and looks like on a day to day basis. Although we have chosen to partner with Africa Schoolhouse we recognize there are many other ways to support girls empowerment and education both in the U.S. and around the world and would encourage any of you to seek out additional ways to make a difference. If you would like additional information of Africa Schoolhouse or any other resources please feel free to reach out!
Emma and Liv