Posted on Feb 21, 2024
Nearly one billion people in rural regions of the world live in communities far from the nearest paved road, walking for miles each day just to survive. On foot, individuals race against the sun to complete everyday tasks. Distance is a barrier to attending school, receiving healthcare, delivering goods to market and other critical services needed to thrive.
Girls with bikes get to school faster and have more energy for their schoolwork. “Girls with bikes are more than twice as likely to complete elementary school”. As a result, they are more likely to go on and graduate from high school. This means a better life for them and their family.
Only $205 can provide a “Buffalo Bike” to a schoolgirl in rural Africa through World Bicycle Relief. Rotary Club of West Vancouver Sunrise, in conjunction with Norwest Cycling Club, has contributed $10,250 to this organization, with the support of a District Grant of over $3,400, for the purchase of 50 Buffalo Bikes.
7th Grader values her bike
For Monica Maungila, a seventh grader at Katoba Primary School in Zambia, getting to school was not always easy. She was often late because her home was six kilometers away and her only mode of transportation was her legs.
Other daily tasks were also difficult.
To fetch water, she would have to carry a bucket on her head for a long distance. If one of her five brothers or two sisters got sick, the clinic was far away.
But one day, this all changed. Monica began arriving at school on time, sometimes even early. She could bring her brothers and sisters to the clinic. And she no longer needed to carry a bucket of water on her head. That’s because Monica received something Canadian kids typically take for granted — a bicycle.
“Before I got the bicycle, I had a lot of problems,” Monica said in a phone interview with Global Citizen from her school in Zambia.
“I appreciate the bicycle,” Monica said. “It gives me a lot of things — coming to school, going home, fetching water, going to the grinding mill, getting to the clinic.”
While Monica is just 12 years old, she wants to finish her education and become a nurse. And now she’s on the right path to do these things, in no small part due to her bicycle.
The club’s funds for this project came from funds raised at their annual Rotary Ride for Rescue, a 15-kilometer hill climb from Mulgrave School up to the Cypress Bowl ski centre in West Vancouver.

Women, in particular, face significant cultural barriers to accessing education, healthcare and employment. That’s why World Bicycle Relief’s approach prioritizes women and girls, aiming for 70% of participants receiving our bicycles to be female. Providing young African schoolgirls -- and schoolboys -- bicycles plays an integral role in helping them graduate from school therefore increasing their chances to break generational cycles of poverty. 

Culturally there is an expectation that girls in rural communities of Africa are responsible for domestic chores like cooking, washing, and cleaning and often this is also expected to take priority over their education. Those who do manage to go to school after their home chores face long commutes (many kilometers long) on foot after a morning of work along unpaved roads. In the dry season, these roads are dusty, and in the wet season muddy. The bicycles allow the students to reach school on time and in a tidy condition which in turn helps them with their studies in the classrooms. Owning a bicycle is also empowering and builds self-confidence in the students.
A Buffalo Bike is durable and designed for conditions on the African sub-continent allowing girls to get to school safely and in a timely fashion and encourage them to stay in school to complete their education.
Buffalo Bicycles, part of the World Bicycle Relief program, assembles the bikes, provides them to the young people and operates facilities in African countries for the maintenance of the bicycles. Buffalo Bicycles are designed, tested and assembled in country, providing jobs in the local economy. We have facilities in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Colombia. Our skilled assembly teams take pride in their work and ensure that your bike is built to endure the adverse conditions it will face.
Buffalo Bicycles are built with heavy-gauge steel, reinforced spokes, and a rack ready to carry 100kg+ loads to withstand rural terrain. They are designed, tested, and assembled in the country where service is provided, contributing to the local economy in the African nations of Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe and the South American nation of Colombia.