No More Long Walks! Bicycles End Students’ 8 – 15km Treks to School

Madziwa Handover img-0817

No More Long Walks! Bicycles End Students’ 8 – 15km Treks to School

In rural Zimbabwe, the scarcity of schools means that students must travel long distances to access education. At Madziwa Mine Secondary School in Shamva District, some learners walk up to 15 kilometres one way. This exhausting journey leaves them physically drained, affecting their concentration and participation in class. The situation is even more dire for girls who often arrive late and face punitive measures from teachers.

Recognizing this issue after it was raised by Tuseme club members at the Madziwa Mine Secondary School, the Forum for African Women Educationalists Zimbabwe Chapter with support from ActionAid Zimbabwe under the Girl Supporter Project took a significant step towards alleviating this burden by handing over 30 bicycles to girls who walk long distances to and from school. This was done to improve attendance rates, reduce lateness, and enhance academic performance among these students.

No More Long Walks! Bicycles End Students’ 8 – 15km Treks to School

One learner shared her plight: “Walking such long distances every day was taking a toll on my body and mind. I would arrive at school tired and unable to focus on my studies.”

Moreover, the long walks expose girls to additional risks. Some have reported being lured into inappropriate relationships with local omnibus operators who offer rides in exchange for sexual favors.

The bicycles not only shortened travel times but also significantly reduced fatigue levels among the recipients.

Madziwa Mine Secondary School Tuseme club chairperson, Ephilda Kagumba expressed her gratitude: “With the bicycles, the 30 learners that received them can now get to school quickly without feeling exhausted. It has made a huge difference in them accessing an education.”

Madziwa Mine Secondary Headmaster Gilbert Marufu welcomed the initiative. He shared about the long-term benefits that it was going to bring.

‘The provision of bicycles is more than just a temporary relief; it represents a sustainable solution that supports young girls to stay in school. This initiative aligns with broader goals of promoting gender equality in education by addressing specific barriers faced by female students.’

The handover of 30 bicycles will go a long way in addressing transportation challenges head-on, and pave the way for improved academic outcomes and enhanced personal safety for learners.

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