Celebrate Solutions: Girls in Malawi Cycling Towards a Better Future

By: Brittany Tatum, Women Deliver

62 million – that’s the number of girls across the globe that are not in school. Even though we know that with an education girls can shape their futures, and transform their communities we still see hundreds of young girls dropping out, and sometimes not even enrolling in school. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it’s estimated that 50% of children don’t have access to any education, and in Malawi one of Africa’s poorest countries only 9% of girls will graduate from secondary school.

Lack of safe transportation to and from school is one of biggest issues girls face when it comes to getting an education. This lack of transportation means that girls sometimes have to walk up 28 kilometers (10 miles) to get to school. But change is happening, and it’s coming on two wheels. In the fall of 2014 Lauren Bohn, Zoe Fox, and GirlUp launched SchoolCycle. SchoolCycle provides girls with bicycles so that they can get to school safely, and go further than they ever imagined. After their launch in 2014 SchoolCycle raised $100,000 which went towards purchasing 550 bicycles, spare parts, and bicycle maintenance lessons to girls in Malawi.

“SchoolCycle is about investing in future change-makers by giving them a simple tool – actual wheels of progress – to make sure their voices are heard, so they can transform the course of their futures,” said Lauren and Zoe in a UN Foundation blog post. 

Photo via: GirlTalkHQ


Brenda Thomas is a fifth grader from Malawi who received a bike thanks to SchoolCycle. Brenda’s mother died when she was young, and her father has never been in her life. She isn’t letting being an orphan slow her down, though; she wants to continue her education so she can study English. In an interview with GirlTalkHQ she talked about how her bike is changing her life: “This bike will take me further because I’m an orphan. I will finish school and become a teacher,” she said, adding that she will not allow herself to marry young like many of her friends.

Thanks to SchoolCycle more girls are getting to, and staying enrolled in school - which is transforming their futures. When girls stay in school past grade even they are: more likely to marry four years later, less likely to die in pregnancy, and more likely to have healthier children. 

With all of the success, SchoolCycle has seen in the past year the Lauren, Zoe, and GirlUp will be expanding SchoolCycle into other countries.

To learn more about SchoolCycle please visit the GirlUp website.

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