In India, welfare programs give bicycles to poor school girls. The bicycle makes it possible for the girls to continue their education, something that they couldn’t do without some sort of transportation
Originally begun by private charities 10 years ago, giving away bicycles has recently been taken up by the government as a way to reduce early marriages, reduce feticide and promote literacy by encouraging more education.
From the above linked 2002 article:
“When I first visited the villages about a decade ago, I saw girls who had been married off at very early ages and were now tending to fields and struggling to take care of their homes and children. After setting up Ashta No Kai (which means ‘for a better tomorrow’) Armene helped set up self-help groups so that women would be able to save money and use it to become entrepreneurs.
“I then started kishori mandals for teenage girls to drive home the need for education as a tool of empowerment,” she informs.
When an appeal in local newspapers for cycles brought forth a reasonable response, coupled with the donation of a 100 cycles from her Japanese friends, Armene started a Bicycle Bank to reach out to those young girls who had decided to opt out of schools because they had no means to attend institutes which were in far-flung areas.
This has helped many girls to clear their SSC examination even though schools in Shirur do not have classes beyond standard VII.
“Most girls were forced to leave their education mid-way because they had to walk up to 10 kilometres for the higher classes. Parents were, but naturally, concerned for their safety and therefore would rather get them married at early ages than run the risk of securing education and special skills,” Armene explains.