LINDA NYONDO, Lusaka
CHILDFUND Zambia has launched the Dream Bike project worth almost K2 million in three districts that will see the distribution of 1,000 bicycles to girls.
The project, valued at K1,869,248, is aimed at helping girls who live in far-flung areas of Chibombo, Mumbwa and Kafue with bicycles to help them reach their respective schools on time.
Speaking at the launch of the project in Chibombo recently, ChildFund Zambia country director Dereje Adugna said the organisation is determined to transform the lives of girls through education.
“Education is critical when it comes to empowering girls. It is an equaliser that gives them the power to contribute equally to national development,” he said.
Mr Adugna said educated girls are less likely to contract sexually transmitted infections.
He expressed hope that the Dream Bike project will help to improve the performance of girls in schools.
Other than providing bicycles to the girls in the three districts, the girls will be attached to mentors, who will guide them on different challenges girls face on a daily basis.
Mr Adugna said ChildFund is hopeful that the programme will help girls become strong and resilient to things that cause their colleagues to get married early or fall pregnant.
Speaking at the same function, Chibombo district education board secretary Belina Moono said the bicycles help shorten the distances covered by many girls to the nearest schools.
“Last year, 36 girls could not sit examinations because some got pregnant and dropped out of school while others were married off. The number is actually high because the one I have given you is for those who dropped out between January and June,” she said.
Ms Moono said preliminary investigations indicate that distance is a contributing factor to girls getting married early or getting pregnant because they are prone to sexual violence as they walk to their nearest schools.
Chibombo district administrative secretary Veronica Chileshe said Government will create a favourable environment for ChildFund to implement their project because the organisation is supplementing Government’s effort.
LINDA NYONDO, Lusaka