Empowering Ugandan Students With Bicycles
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JINJA, UGANDA -- Back in April, my 7th grade students were fascinated to learn that providing bicycles to people is a very effective means for them to improve their lives. Having access to a bike leads to better health care, education and income. I pledged that if they were able to raise the funds to buy a bicycle, I would find a worthy recipient. They put together the funds needed so on my humanitarian trip to Uganda, I found an amazing non-profit to partner with and carried out the project. I worked with Coop-Uganda, which is a Dutch-African NGO that provides bicycles to students, health workers and entrepreneurs. The process was pretty straight forward: I purchased a bike on behalf of my students for a Ugandan student, they took me to a school and I delivered it.
The only problem was when we arrived at the school and I discovered that there were five other students that really needed bikes also. For these students that live in remote regions, without a bicycle, they have to walk up to 2 hours to get to school and 2 hours to get home. As a result, they are exhausted by the time they reach school and often miss morning lessons because they have chores to do at home before leaving. Some even have to hike 90 minutes to fetch water and then walk 90 minutes to school - every morning! Girls are sexually assaulted on these long walks as well. With 6 students in front of me, I was forced to randomly choose one of them to receive the bike, but that didn't sit well, so I pledged to go home and raise some funds to buy them all bikes.
Working hand-in-hand with my childhood friend (and Lutheran pastor) Tim Krick, Cause & Affect launched a crowdfunding campaign on Razoo and we were off to the races. Two weeks later we had raised $1,500 to go back to purchase 10 more bikes.
We delivered the bikes to 10 students from 2 different schools. As the video shows, most of them used walk a total of over 3 hours to and from school every day! Their education suffered as a result. With their new bikes, they will arrive at school in time for their lessons, they will be able to help their parents around the house, they will have more time to study and they will be safer. It's as easy as that.
Thanks to all of our donors who helped make this project a reality! To donate to projects like this, please make your donation via credit card or Paypal using the link here. Remember, Cause & Affect is a registered 501-c-3 charity, so all donations are tax-deductible.