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A Bicycle-Lending Program Helps Many Gambian Students

Home > Learn More > Stories & News > A Bicycle-Lending Program Helps Many Gambian Students
By Ya Sainey Gaye, ChildFund The Gambia
Posted on 3/10/2016
A beneficiary with his bicycle and mother

Nuha and his mother, Anna, receive his bicycle at our local partner in The Gambia’s western region.

A group of 100 students received bicycles last month in The Gambia, and many more will benefit in the future through a lending plan.

Staff members at ChildFund’s local partner in The Gambia’s western region, Kaira Suu Federation, announced that the bikes will be turned in when young men and women graduate from school, so other students will get bikes, making their daily commute easier.

“I sometimes found it very difficult to go to school because of the long distance, and also my parents are unable to give me fares for paid transportation,” says Ensa, a 20-year-old man who received a bicycle. He is in the 11th grade at a local secondary school in Jambanjelly, the village where Kaira Suu is based.

“I had to hitchhike to reach school,” Ensa recalls, “and if that was not possible, I would have to miss out on school that day.”

At the presentation of the bicycles Feb. 24, an organization of local mothers’ clubs also received 50,000 dalasis (Gambian currency), which equals about $1,200 in American dollars, to support local Early Childhood Development centers with supplies and other resources. Kaira Suu Federation board members and staff will monitor the fund, making sure that it helps improve the lives of children and their family members. 

Both the bicycle distribution and the ECD center funding are part of ChildFund’s goal to establish sustainable change in communities.

“We want to do away with free handouts and focus more on sustainable learning and school dropouts,” says James Pimundu, national director of ChildFund The Gambia. “It will also increase retention in school.”

Children and their family members are thrilled to have bicycles now. “My nephew lives very far from the school and has to walk every day and sometimes reaches school late,” says the uncle of 11-year-old Alieu. “But with the bicycle, he is sure that lateness will be a thing of the past.”

You can help make it easier for students to get to school by sponsoring a child or by making a monthly donation