Back in February 2017, Girl Up staff and Teen Advisor alum Nehal Jain traveled to Guatemala to deliver 250 bicycles to girls in rural Guatemala. As part of the SchoolCycle initiative, Girl Up teamed up with UNFPA to help increase the mobility and autonomy of adolescent girls in Chisec, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Increasing girls’ mobility and autonomy not only helps them travel to and from school but also positions them to access basic education, health, reproductive and financial services within and outside of their communities.
From November 2016 to October 2017, 250 bikes were distributed in 30 different communities.
So, what does 250 bicycles look like for girls living in rural parts of Guatemala?
- 97% of girls completed the 2017 school year
- 97% of girls intend to study in the 2018 school year (up from 76% in 2017)
- 51% of girls increased their mobility with a bicycle
- 24% increase in girls going back to school (from 2016 to 2017 school year)
How were girls selected to receive bicycles?
- distance from home to school
- means of transport from home to school
- cost of traveling from home to school
- time spent walking from home to school
What’s more important than the facts stated above are the actual transformations of adolescent girls who received these 250 bicycles.
Girls like Gladys can now continue her education and help her family financially; although Marlene didn’t receive a bike, she knows her life will still change because her younger sister Damaris received one. What’s more are the Abriendo Oportunidades mentors who check-in on the girls periodically and make sure their bikes are well-equipped.
Over a year later, we see how much a bike can impact the life of an adolescent girl in Guatemala. Thanks to your support, girls are able to go back to school, call themselves a “bike-owner” and begin to set their paths towards the future.