Pedalling to school

Rotarians of RC Bombay Juhu Beach with student-beneficiaries of the club’s bicycle project.
Rotarians of RC Bombay Juhu Beach with student-beneficiaries of the club’s bicycle project.

Neha Ravindra Davala, a Class 10 student residing at Somta village, bids a cheerful adieu to her parents as she leaves for school on a brand new bicycle. Gone are the days of an arduous journey to school for this Class 10 student of Shanti Ratan Vidya Mandir, Kondgaon, in Palghar district near Mumbai.

Her mother used to give Neha Rs 10 everyday to take a tempo to school. On many days, she could not attend school as there was no money at home or she would be late to school as the tempo service was irregular.  “Thanks to this new cycle, I am able to attend school everyday on time and also reach home early to help my mother. I also get more time to study,” says Neha.

School life changed for the better for 150 students of the school when RC Bombay Juhu Beach, D 3141, in partnership with Ashland India, gave them bicycles. The company also pitched in with a donation of Rs 6 lakh as part of its CSR outreach.

Thanks to this new cycle, I am able to attend school everyday on time, reach home early to help my mother and also get more time to study.

“The beneficiaries used to trek a total of nearly 10 km to school and back home. They all hail from very low-income tribal families,” says IPP Neha Savla. The school principal Sushil Shejule is confident that the students will be able to show commendable progress in their academic pursuits, as “their commute has been made comfortable.”

At the end of the academic year, the bicycles will be returned to the school and fresh allocations will be made next year.

An MoU has been signed with the school making it responsible for the upkeep of the two-wheelers. “The school ensures a pillion rider, to help more students,” says Neha Savla.

The club wants to replicate this project in more schools in the surrounding rural areas upon receipt of such requests from school authorities. “We can tie-up with corporates to raise funds as many private companies are ready to join us in this initiative,” she adds.

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