For many children in the West, usually a bicycle is little more than a toy. For Bharati it is a means to an education, a means to a better future, and a tool to achieve what women in her mother’s generation could not. Bharati wants to change her world with a little help from her own two wheels.
In many villages, there were only schools until seventh grade. There were no high schools. So we worked in 10 villages at that point of time, and there were only three high schools. So then I asked the parents, the mothers, “Well, what happens to the boys? How do you send the boys to school?” And they said, “Well, we give them bicycles.” And I said, “Well, what about the girls?” And they said, “Oh, no. It’s a waste of money to give a bicycle to a girl. She’s going to turn around and get married.” There’s a famous Indian saying: Why water a plant that’s going to grow in a neighbor’s garden? So, I thought, my God, if it’s only a bicycle that’s keeping girls from going to school, let’s go ahead and give it to them. — ARMENE MODI