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Dream Bike in Ethiopia – One year on, children are soaring
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Apr 28, 2017
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A year ago we visited Ethiopia to present the first batch of Dream Bikes to vulnerable girls there.  Now one year on, they are thriving at school and in their communities too!

Etaferu Tadesse proudly shows off her Dream Bike in her school compound in Ethiopia

Dublin April 28th, 2017: Brian Mac Neill (ChildFund Ireland), Asaminew Kassa & Martha Alemayehu (ChildFund Ethiopia). 

Its hard to believe its been a year since our momentous and inspirational trip to Ethiopia in support of our Dream Bike Campaign, and our partnership with the Camogie Association.  Anne Cassin and her team from RTE Nationwide were on hand to capture highlights from our short but memorable visit, including the first ever game of Camogie played on African soil!  They were also there to experience the excitement and joy in the rural community of Ropi when the first bikes were presented as part of the Dream Bike initiative.   http://www.childfund.ie/blog/a-great-week-for-dream-bike-and-camogie-in-ethiopia/

There has been so much positive change in the intervening period.  We wanted to share just what an important difference it can make when people intervene positively in the lives of impoverished people in the developing world.  A little generosity can go a long long way.   The ripple effect of your good will can be profound and can sustain meaningful change for children and their families well into the future.

Its impossible to overstate just how important it is for children in the developing world, especially girls, to acquire a successful education.  With so many practical hurdles to overcome in life, like the daily journey to source water (a vitally important issue for families at all times but especially so in times of drought, such as that which has affected parts of Ethiopa this last 18 months or more), the act of getting to school can be exhausting and sometimes just impossible due to other family priorities.  What is important for children now, and for their future, gets held hostage by the daily grind of simply getting by.  The goal of our development work is to identify practical ways in which we can help children and their families, and to intervene in their lives to make this change happen. We need to help them plan for the future and that is what investing in education is all about; it creates a pathway toward a future with more opportunity and better chances for people to climb out of the poverty net.   ChildFund believes every child should have the right to an education so that as adults they can determine their own futures and enjoy better life opportunities.   Dream Bike is just one way we can help kids reach that destination and your support is vital in helping us achieving it. http://www.childfund.ie/dream-bike/

Asaminew and Martha from our Ethiopia office have provided this update on children who have been directly, positively, impacted by the gift of a Dream Bike since we visited there to hand over bikes last April.

The  32  bicycles,  donated  from  ChildFund  Ireland  back  in  June  2016, were given out to 32 girl students enrolled under four Local Partners of ChildFund Ethiopia; 12 Girls under Siraro LP, 5 under Belaya LP, 14 under Sodo Buee and 1 under Tesfa Berhan LP.  This generous support has since made a huge contribution towards the successful attendance at school by the supported girls.  The provision of bicycles, to the girls has made the exhausting journeys between their houses and  schools much easier to manage.  Hitherto they had to undertake these weary journeys on foot.   Equally important, having a bike to shorten the travel time to and from school has enabled them to have ample time for after-school study and to support their families with chores.  Before the intervention of Dream Bike in their lives it was difficult for the girls to attend catch-up classes (extra classes to support children who have missed time at school), and to visit libraries due the long distances involved.

Child safety and good child protection strategies are  a vitally important aspect of ChildFunds work.  Children who have to travel long distances between the safety of home and the safety of school are, by definition exposed to lengthy periods without adult supervision.  The provision of bicycles has considerably reduced this worrying child protection threat.   The safety of girls has been substantially improved by shorter journeys and the capacity to undertake journeys in  the safety of daylight.  This makes them less likely to be victims of sexual abuse executed by perpetrators that pick late hours to attack vulnerable students.   The girls can now reach home safely before sun down and this is hugely important.  Thanks to the bikes the girls are now able to stay late in school participate in tutorial programs, attend extra classes and visit libraries, all of which will help ensure they get the best possible education they can get.  

 

Rahel riding her bicycle to school

Rahel riding her bicycle to school

Bethelhem riding her bicycle

The bicycles have also helped the girls to support their families in running errands and engaging in important household chores.  The Dream Bike girl students have shown improvements in their academic performance and successfully transferred to the next grades. Furthermore, the supported students have been participating in some volunteer activities in their villages and motivated to participate in extra curriculum activities such as joining girls clubs and others.  In general the bicycle support has motivated  as well as enabled the girls to consistently attend education and perform well.  It has given them a belief that a good education is an achievable and manageable goal for themselves and their families.    This renewed belief has helped ensure timely attendance, improved grade completion, and reduced school dropouts, always a major concern in cases where education is consistently interrupted.  

From the social perspective, the girls have now spare time to chat with their friends, actively engage in social life and interact with their families besides being able to allocate reasonable time for doing homework and studying. This has enabled them to create good relationship with their peers, parents and other community members.  Describing what the dream bikes support means to her, one girl student said;

“I have become more motivated to attend my classes and was able to improve my academic performance by studying hard and regularly attending classes and I achieved best scores in the entire final exams”.

 

Most of the beneficiary students have shown improved performance in their academic performance since they received bikes and successfully transferred from grade to grade with good results.  The supported girl students are very much hopeful to successfully accomplish their education and have extended their gratitude for the support they received.

To support our Dream Bike campaign visit: http://www.childfund.ie/dream-bike/

ChildFund Ireland – with thanks to Asaminew Kassa & Martha Alemayehu of ChildFund Ethiopia,

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