Help children get to school safely in order to get an education.
Access to education is one of the main problems in Latin America today. One of the principal barriers is that schools are located far away from students’ houses, so assistance rates depend heavily on the weather and their means to get to school. With incessant tropical storms caused by El Niño, schools in the Paraguayan countryside are constantly empty. On top of this problematic is the fact that there is a higher number of young girls being harassed and/or raped on their way to school, as roads are usually empty and not well illuminated.
One day in March 2015, my dad fixed two old bicycles that belonged to my sister and me, and we gave them away to students in an agricultural school in the Paraguayan Chaco so they could use them to get to class. My dad uploaded the picture of him fixing the bicycle to a Facebook group he created where he teaches people how to fix simple things around the house. In a matter of minutes, his followers started sharing his publication. This motivated us to start a bicycle donation campaign, so I created a poster, shared it through different social media platforms and it went viral. By the next morning, four companies offered their offices as stations for the bicycles to be deposited, and we received calls from people all over the country offering their old bicycles. This is how Donate Your Bicycle was born.
I contacted local community leaders who help us identify potential beneficiaries. I get to these leaders through social organizations that have a solid reputation to make sure the beneficiaries are real people with real needs. These leaders either negotiate with their local governments to pick up the bicycles from Asuncion, or we send them through ground transportation.
After talking to the beneficiaries, we have also identified the need for shoes. Therefore, we plan this year to add another layer to the campaign: Donate Your Bicycle and a Pair of Shoes. We have received the donation of 10,000 pairs of TOMs shoes, and we have decided that we will distributed them to our beneficiaries in exchange of vaccination cards. We want to make sure that this movement is much more than charity, and are investigating ways to generate concrete social change in these communities one step at a time.