Learn to Ride

Why Teaching Women and Girls in Africa to Ride a Bicycle is Important

For women and girls in Ghana and Sierra Leone, learning to ride a bike is a ticket to independence and success.  How does this happen? In rural communities where transport is expensive and people walk long distances every day, the ability to ride a bike means that women and girls can get where they need to go for faster and for free, without exhausting themselves by walking. Once they learn to ride a bike, they can ride the bikes owned by fathers and brothers.  With the help of VBP, they can purchase and maintain a bike of  their own.

When women have a bike to ride, they can save the taxi or bus fares in and out of a village for work or school.  Students can use the money saved to pay school fees, and use the saved time to get homework completed.

Instead of walking two hours each morning to school, a teacher can ride there in thirty minutes allowing her to teach students with greater energy. While a husband takes a motorbike to work, his wife can take her bicycle to the farm and carry back large loads of yam or firewood that normally would go on her head. This translates into an increased harvest, higher income, and improved quality of life for the whole family.

A daughter who has to fetch water in the evenings can borrow her father’s bike to carry back the 40 pound water can. These examples are common situations where women and girls are benefiting and improving the world around them.

It comes down to this: riding a bike gives women opportunity. Teaching women and girls to ride changes their world for the better.

History

Learn to Ride started in Lunsar, Sierra Leone in 2009 thanks to the dedication of our staff members Jack Kamara and Karim Kamara (no relation) and volunteer Brittany Richardson (2009-2010). Today the Learn to Ride Program they started is still going strong.

In 2014, a girls only Learn to Ride Program was expanded to Ghana, thanks to Clara Mathews and our Ghana staff. The Ghana team has created traveling after-school Learn to Ride program for girls using  month-long classes in community parks where women and girls are free to ride in a friendly and open environment.

Check out VBP Founder David Peckham talking about the beginnings of Learn to Ride in Sierra Leone.

A former Learn to Ride Coordinator tells this story.

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