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Two girls in their village in Zambia, riding their bikes to school safely.
Essentials - February 2022

Riding to a better future

How you're helping to keep girls in school

Together, we’re helping vulnerable children achieve their full potential

Mary is 14 years old and lives in Zambia with her four siblings. 

In the early hours of the morning, Mary used to walk a distance of 7km to get to school from home. This journey took her through thorny bushes and down a lonely, dark trail. Her mother often worried about her safety. 

To make sure she wouldn’t miss her first class, Mary would leave home at 4am. And because of her large family, she’d start her morning at 3am to finish the house chores before leaving for school. 

Mary was often scared to go to school.  

“I always walked in fear– my greatest fear was that I may be raped or killed one day because of walking alone,”


14, Zambia

Rain or shine, Mary struggled through extreme weather conditions and would sometimes fall ill. This meant she was often forced to miss school. 

“I usually fell sick and struggled to walk. At times I felt discouraged whenever I thought of the distance and decided to stay away from school,” says Mary. 

Despite how difficult it was to get to and from school, Mary was determined to complete her studies. 

“Sometimes I’d walk alone in the morning for school, at times I left school early because where I live is quite far compared to my friends," says Mary.

Mary’s mother did her best to support Mary and her siblings, but she struggled to afford their school fees. The money she earned was used for her charcoal burning business, and there was little left to spare.  

Mary wears her school uniform with pride and smiles
Mary, 14, now has a bicycle where she can ride to and from school safely.

Keeping vulnerable children in school

Everything changed when Mary received a bicycle as part of a World Vision project. She travels safely and doesn't have to get up at 3am to make it to school on time.

“I am grateful to the people who thought of me, this bicycle is going to take me a long way. Every time I am cycling to school I feel like I am cycling to my bright future,” she says.

In many countries, girls like Mary are forced to drop out of school because they live too far away or risk dangers such as violence or kidnapping on their walking route. World Vision understands that children who miss school are at a greater risk of child marriage and can have their futures disrupted by child labour. Because of supporters like you, vulnerable children are able to access education and reach their full potential.

Together, we’ll continue to provide the most vulnerable children with the essentials they desperately need, giving them a healthier and happier future.

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