Upper East pupils benefit from school bicycle project

The use of bicycles remains critical for education in rural areas.The Tuma Kavi Development Association (TKDA) has taken delivery of a total of 213 bicycles for distribution to needy school children who trek long distances to school.

The beneficiaries are within the association’s operational areas in the Northern and the Upper East regions.

ChildFund Korea, a South Korean NGO, dedicated to promoting the well-being of children, presented the bicycles valued at more than GH₵66,000 to the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), which presented the bicycles to TKDA at the weekend for onward distribution to the needy pupils.

Mr. William Anim-Darkwa, Communications Director of the CCFC, presenting the bicycles on behalf of ChildFund Korea, said worldwide, bicycles continue to serve as important means of transport and in the developing world, they could act as an impetus for economic transformation.

He said in the rural areas of Ghana, bicycles were used as a major means of transportation to farms, markets and other social centres.

However, he said, while bicycles were relatively affordable to the average income earner elsewhere, they were perceived as a luxury in deprived rural communities, hence the importance of assisting school children with the bicycles.

He said the lack of transportation adversely affect children’s ability to attend school regularly because many families lived long distances from the closest school, and that many children, especially girls, could not attend school because of the tedious daily walk to school.

Mr. Anim-Darkwa said the long distance was a deterrent for many children, thus contributing to the high incidences of school drop-out, lower attendance rates and disproportionately high illiteracy rates in rural communities.

He said CCFC and its Ghanaian partner, TKDA, believed the problem could be addressed with a minimum investment in the provision of the bicycles.

He said the project was designed to provide bicycles to children as an alternative means of transport to school children in order to support and encourage them to attend and attain basic education.

The ‘School Bicycle Project’, he said, was a three-month project that would reach out to 15 schools (Primary and Junior High schools) and 213 school children (133 Girls and 80 Boys) in the Northern Region, Ghana, by providing each of them with a bicycle.

The Reverend (Mrs) Sanatu Nantogma, TKDA programme leader, who received the bicycles, said partners, in collaboration with the various school teachers, had identified the need for bicycles in target communities, as an alternative way of motivating school children, especially girls to promote school retention and completion.

She said children in primary and junior high schools enjoyed riding bicycles, which provide a fun and fast alternative to walking, and that currently, more than 700 children in the programme’s target areas were in dire need of the bicycle support to enable them to travel to school.

GNA

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