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Change begins with a bicycle in Uganda

Nawalat

Do you have any treasured memories, featuring a bicycle? Perhaps you enjoyed helping your child to take their first, wobbly bike ride with the stabilisers off. Perhaps you love the thrill of watching bicycles whizz round the velodrome when catching the Olympics on TV. Or perhaps you’re a keen cyclist yourself, and know with great familiarity the thrill of life on two wheels.

For communities living in rural Uganda, bicycles are more than a mode of transport – they’re a vital tool to help break the cycle of poverty.

Nawalat is a young girl living in Butagaya, Uganda. For her, every day can be a challenge. She dreams of becoming a nurse – but her journey to school is long and difficult, and as the eldest child, she must help her widowed mother and younger siblings at home.

Young girls like Nawalat have the potential they need to break the cycle of poverty. Through your support, one of the local partners All We Can works with in Uganda has helped her to access a bicycle – and now, she can take her future into her own hands.

Nawalat’s two-hour walk to school, and the risks she faced along the way, meant she arrived late, and was turned away from class. Now she cycles, she’s there on time, every day – and she can help with chores at home as well. Her dream of becoming a nurse has been made possible, thanks to her bicycle.

‘I feel good, because with the bike I am able to reach school in time’ said Nawalat. ‘I am no longer a victim of late coming. I have enough time to settle down and read my books… I feel relieved with the bike.’

Even during the coronavirus pandemic, bicycles have been a lifeline to those living in rural communities. Public transport was banned during Uganda’s lockdown – including boda boda motorcycles, which many rely on to travel. This left some of the most vulnerable in difficult circumstances – pregnant mothers lacked transportation to medical clinics for vital health treatment, and others struggled to take their produce to market, or buy enough food to eat.

Tapensisi was able use a bicycle to access hospital treatment during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Tapensisi was able use a bicycle to access hospital treatment during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In response to these troubling circumstances, regularly sanitized bicycles were made available to these communities, so that they could continue to safely and hygienically access the services they needed. Tapenensi, (pictured above) is diabetic and suffers from high blood pressure. Without access to public transport, she was unable to visit the local hospital – her health was deteriorating, and she could not afford private transport to see a doctor.

Access to a bicycle meant that Tapenensi was able to visit a hospital, and get the medical help that she urgently needed. ‘I started borrowing the bicycle to the hospital. Now, I no longer miss my routine check-ups and now my life is very stable. I also use the bicycle to fetch food from the neighbouring community’ she shared.

This Harvest, you and your church can help make this change a reality for even more people like Nawalat and Tapensi, living in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.  Order your Harvest resources – perfect for both virtual and physical services – here, and learn more about Nawalat in the video below.

About the Author Aimee Nott

Aimee is All We Can’s Communications and PR Manager. Having worked in the charity sector across fundraising, communications and campaigning, Aimee is excited about the impact communities can have in driving genuine change and transformation. She lives in Reading, and is an avid lover of houseplants and cats.

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