PROBLEM: The majority of the 1.2 million people who live in the Mangochi District of Malawi, Africa live in 250+ villages in a widespread rural setting with no public transportation. Secondary school students in these villages must walk anywhere between 3 to 9 miles to get to school. Walking these great distances has a profound effect on student attendance, energy level and safety, especially for girls who must sometimes walk alone in the dark.  Just 15% of these students complete secondary school and that number drops to 7% for girls.


 

SOLUTION: Provide educational opportunity and economic advancement to impoverished youth ages 14 – 20 years by providing them with access to bicycles as a reliable means of transportation to school so that they may successfully graduate.
 
ROTARY TO THE RESCUE! Thanks to the joints efforts and teamwork of many local and international organizations, the Malawi Bicycle Share Project is expected to become a reality in June/July 2021. 
 
The Rotary Club of Limbe, Malawi will host the project while the Rotary Club of Traverse City Sunrise and the Rotary Club of Elk Rapids have teamed up to direct and coordinate the fundraising efforts. These individual clubs, as well as The Rotary Foundation, and Rotary District 6290’’s Designated
Funds are expected to have significantly contributed funds for this
proposed project, including funds from Calvary Lutheran Church of Elk Rapids. 
 
The nearly $50,000 will have been raised by these organizations that will allow for the purchase of 220 “Buffalo Bikes” that are specifically designed for use over the rough local terrain.   Remaining funds will go toward supporting the sustainability of the project in the areas of bicycle maintenance and education. 
 
COOPERATING ORGANIZATIONS: These Rotary Clubs have and will continue to serve as the coordinators of several cooperating organizations on this project. The Warm Hearts Foundation, which has a successful track record of implementing education projects in Malawi, will help coordinate the implementation of this project by working with the school headmasters in establishing Bike Committees in each of the four schools.  Once selected to receive a bike, each student must agree to pay a small monthly fee for the use of the bike under the control of each school’s Bike Committee.  Warm Hearts will also be responsible for collecting and reporting on project measurements to ensure the projects’ on-going success.
 
Another cooperating organization is The Norte Youth Cycling Club of Traverse City. Norte will develop a bike repair-training curriculum for students and for the selected bike repair mechanics in Malawi. The hope is that that training of local bike repair mechanics may lead to entrepreneurial opportunities in the local villages, which may further be enable with small micro-loans administer by Warm Hearts. 
 
TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK! The Malawi Bicycle Share Project is perfect example of how coming together and working as a team, can lead to accomplishing great things! 
 
You can help the Rotary Club of Elk Rapids continue to connect and make things better by donating to the “Good Works Fund” at elkrapidsrotary.org/donate.