The Rotary Club of Pune Shivajinagar and The Unforgotten Fund (UNFF) are partnering with Yavat Schools to help promote education in rural areas of India by providing bicycles to girls who otherwise would not have a way to reach school. Rural school districts in India often lack the resources to bus their children to the school. As such, students, particularly girls, find it difficult to attend school regularly and many are forced to drop out. It is difficult and risky for girls to walk for hours through deserted fields to school before dawn and after dusk. While most girls living in rural India may attend primary school, since it tends to be close by their houses, these girls will often drop out when they reach secondary school because of this distance factor.
Considering this difficulty, the local Rotary club partnered with teachers at the local Yavat schools to provide some of their needy girl students with the most ecofriendly, no pollution, no fuel vehicle, to help them reach the school,……a bicycle.
The bicycles are bright pink, so that others in the community and family would be deterred from using or stealing the bike. The communities are aware that the bikes are only to be used for school purposes by the girls, and not on the farm or around the village for chores. Having access to a bike empowers young girls to complete their education, since now they can get to school on their own without having to depend on anyone.
The Rotary Club worked with Yavat schools on this project starting in 2014 by providing 9 bicycles. Today they have collected enough funds to sponsor over 300 bicycles for their girls. Since the program started, the teachers at the school have witnessed that the beneficiary students' attendance has significantly improved. Additionally they have become healthier due to cycling and they are better able to better focus on their studies having arrived to school on time and having completed assignments, which before was extremely difficult due to their commute. All bicycles belong to the school and girl students are selected to receive a bicycle based on the distance from their houses to the school as well as financial hardship due to the travel. If a girl leaves or graduates the bicycle is passed onto another student.
The Rotary club and the teachers would love to see this program expand and help other students who also attend nearby rural schools. $70 USD buys a bike for a student; however, any and all donations are appreciated. If this campaign is a success; any additional funds over the target will be used to purchase more bicycles.
Please consider donating to help us achieve our goal! The impacts of these projects extend far beyond those directly involved, and every donation, big or small, will get us one step closer! Thanks for supporting the Yavat Schools Bike Program, the Unforgotten Fund, and Rotary, and don’t forget to share this post to increase our impact.