ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design

44. A pink Bike to Fly

pink background, a lower part of a bicycles on the right and on the right the text: Trring trrrrrring a story of bicycles

Can a simple bike, one like many others you see on the Indian streets, improve a woman’s life? This is not a revolutionary weapon capable to emancipate, but the symbol of two stories (one in Bihar and one in Tamil) demonstrating that the bicycle allow girls to study for more years and to become more self-confident.

While more and more family become aware of the importance of education and grow the will to send their children to school, when it comes down to girls and secondary education, the number of quits is still very high, especially in rural areas.
Reasons are many. Cultural: when the girl reaches her puberty, she must be protected from men’s world. A woman becoming adult is going to marry, grow children and stay at home. So what’s the point in her education? Economical: if the girl’s family is poor, the girl will be forced to do her part in the house, taking care of her little brothers or working outside. And practical: schools are often very far from home, the road from the village to the classroom is in bad conditions and risky; there are no bathrooms and the quality of teaching is awful...

In 2001, in Tamil Nadu, there was a project for giving free bicycles to incentivize education for secondary school. In India there are plenty of bicycles: around 12 millions in a year are sold and India is the second major bicycle manufacturer. But there, the price of a bicycle is high and it is hard to buy one for your daughter to go to school with.
The first year the bicycle were given exclusively to low-class female students attending classes XI and XII. The project was successful, and in the next years bicycles were gifted to every student for a total of 647.000 (357.000 for females).

In Bihar, sadly known for the economic underdevelopment and low educational level, in 2006 the government launched a bicycle distribution project to fight against 14-15 years old girls leaving school. The schools were far from home and the road mostly inexistent.
Bicycles allowed many young girls to halve the time to reach the classrooms and, travelling in group, to feel more safe. Results are many: the subscription for the XI year of school increased to 30%.
In Bihar the govern does not gift the bicycle to the girls, but gives them the money during a ceremony. Once they buy it, the family must show the receipt to the school and the bicycle goes back to the institution if the girl doesn’t attend her lessons.

The project, said many teachers, inspired the girls: now they are more willing to learn and grew more independent. A bicycle is not enough, of course, to grant the perfect education to a girl. Now that the girls can attend lessons, the teachers must be capable to teach them, the infrastructures must be good enough and the lessons should be effective. The final exams results (X class) in Bihar did not show any improvement. 

Now that girls ride bicycles, institution must ride the moment to improve the quality of the services they provide.


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