Blossom Bus: Keeping girls in School and Keeping Schools Open
In a recent study, Unicef found 30% of the world’s poorest teenage girls have never been to school. Girls in poor countries face obstacles to education; gender discrimination and physical distance from their school, to name a few.
It’s no exaggeration to say heroics are at play when a girl in these conditions is able to remain in school. Every girl who remains in school not only becomes an inspiration and role model for all the girl children in her village, but adds to the development of her community at large both here and now, and for generations to come.
The positive outcomes from keeping girls in school are massive, and an enormous body of evidence supports this line of thinking as Paul Hawken describes in his book, Drawdown:
“For starters, educated girls realize higher wages and greater upward mobility, contributing to economic growth. Their rates of maternal mortality drop, as do mortality rates of their babies. They are less likely to marry as children or against their will. They have lower incidence of HIV/AIDS and malaria—the “social vaccine” effect. Their agricultural plots are more productive and their families better nourished. They are more empowered at home, at work, and in society.”
This is why Blossom Bus is such an important program. Thanks to our donors, the buses continue to run smoothly serving close to 700 riders who are able to overcome safety issues, gender biases, inclement weather, seasonal work responsibilities on the farm and sibling care, ensuring 100% attendance rates at school.
While the local education department and school authorities applaud this initiative, we’ve also seen no further provision of affordable public or private transportation for girls. That said, these buses remain absolutely crucial to their continuing education and the betterment of these communities.
It’s no surprise that demands for a seat on the bus continue to rise! We are keeping a list of applicants and hope to add 300 new riders before the end of this current academic year in March.
Teachers, principals and education department officers in our work area continuously remind us how inspired they are by our effort. By enabling regular attendance of large numbers of girl students at local high schools, the Blossom Bus program is not only keeping girls in school, it’s keeping schools open!
Contributing to the overall vibrancy of education in the community is a testament to the deeper impacts of this program on society at large. It also speaks to the heart-center of this work: empowering from the ground up with sustainable, scalable solutions for big impact and lasting change!
Photos by Tarang Kanjaria.