Rihanna and Bike-Sharing Company Team Up So That Malawi Girls Will No Longer Have to Walk Long Distances to School 

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Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation works to provide globally effective health and education programs. (Press Release)

Girls in Malawi will no longer have to struggle to get to school, thanks to Rihanna’s new partnership that will provide the students with bikes and scholarships.

The singer’s Clara Lionel Foundation has announced a five-year collaboration with bike-sharing platform ofo called “1 KM Action,” which will back the CLF Global Scholarship Program and support Malawi educational programs.

“I’m so happy about the Clara Lionel Foundation’s new partnership with ofo because it will help so many young people around the world receive a quality education,” Rihanna said in a Tuesday, Aug. 1, press release. “And also help the young girls of Malawi get to school safely, cutting down those very long walks they make to and from school all alone.”

The initial round of ofo bikes has already been gifted to some scholarship recipients in Malawi, and it has been welcomed by teachers and students. In a video documenting Rihanna’s January trip to the southeast African country, Tamara Tsambalikagwa, who is the national chair of the Campaign for Female Education in Malawi, said long distances are one of the major challenges the girls face in trying to get an education.

“A girl might travel 13 kilometers, [8 miles] 15 kilometers [9 miles] away from home just one way going to school and then she’ll have to come back,” Tsambalikagwa says of the distance, which leads girls to drop out at a disproportionate rate. “You can imagine, it’s 26 kilometers [16 miles] [and] for a girl, it is a very big challenge.”

On the scholarship front, four-year college students hailing from Barbados, Haiti, Grenada, Jamaica, Guyana, Cuba, Brazil and China will be provided funds from CLF’s Global Scholarship and 1 KM Action. The latter is a teaming of ofo and the United Nations Development Programme and strives to encourage low-carbon, sustainable and eco-friendly short-distance bike trips. Innovative projects that address environmental hurdles in cities will also receive funding from 1 KM Action.

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