Mar 2, 2009

Freedom Ride-Banking on Bicycles in Rural India

Freedom Ride! Banking on Bicycles in Rural India

After finishing the 7th grade, Asma Tamboli wanted to continue her education in high school. She requested a job from the Mann Deshi Mahila Bank so that she could earn money to buy a bicycle. When asked why, she replied that she had no transportation from her village to high school, and her parents had urged her to drop out because they were worried about her walking the long distance to school. Asma felt that using a bicycle to get to school would be the ideal solution but her parents could not afford one. The Bank agreed to employ her for the summer, and she was able to purchase a bicycle and continue her education.

Asma was the inspiration behind the Mann Deshi rural women’s micro-finance Bank’s Freedom Ride Bicycle Program. Asma’s story illustrates some of the main barriers facing rural girls who wish to continue their education. Poor public transportation, high costs for bicycles, and reluctance of parents to allow girls to walk long distances to school are only some of the difficulties rural girls face in pursuing their education. The Freedom Ride Bicycle Program is designed to help alleviate these problems, by providing loans at 0% interest to girls and their families to buy bicycles, and has helped prevent hundreds of girls from dropping out of school prematurely. We also have a special fund allocated for those who cannot even afford a loan but show a strong commitment to education, and we donate bicycles to these girls. The Bank is proud of Asma’s innovation and commitment to education, and continues to support others who want to follow in her footsteps.

You can help support girls like Asma by providing seed money for bicycles. Adopting one girl costs only $50, a class of 5 girls can be adopted for $250, and 10 girls for $500. You can also sponsor a village which has achieved 100% enrollment of girls in school for $2250. Mann Deshi can send you information about and pictures of the specific girls you have helped and provide you with the opportunity keep up with her progress in school.

Feb 29, 2008

The importance of the Bicycle Program

Ashwini's bicycle helps her to continue her education
Ashwini's bicycle helps her to continue her education

Ashwini is one of the few girls in her community completing the 11th standard in school. When she was in the 9th standard, receiving a bicycle from Mann Deshi allowed her to continue her studies and attend school without the burden of paying for bus transportation, a common cause for drop out.

Ashwini lives in Mhaswad and is the eldest of her two siblings, a brother and sister. Ashwini never borrows money from her parents. The expenses she incurs, such as buying clothes and shoes, she covers with selling sprouted vegetables in her village. She is completely self- sufficient in this way. The money that is left after covering her expenses, she uses purely for educational purposes. Mann Deshi has given bicycles to more than 2000 girls, which helps them complete their education and make their dreams come true.

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