Pop star Rihanna is giving out free bicycles to girls in Malawi as part of a new campaign to get them to attend school. The campaign, called 1 Km Action, is a partnership between Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation and Chinese bike-sharing company Ofo.
BBC’s Newsbeat reports that the foundation will fund scholarships to help hundreds of Malawian girls attend secondary school. Those who qualify will receive bicycles to help them get to school.
According to the foundation, there are approximately 4.6 million students across Malawi but only 8% of them manage to complete secondary school.
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Malawian officials say long distance traveling is one of the impediments of secondary school completion in the country.
“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, 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”, said Rihanna.
The Clara Lionel Foundation, named after Rihanna’s grandparents, aims to support innovative and effective education programs around the world. It encourages teachers and students, advocates and allies to reach across borders to join the fight for the basic right to education for all. It also works to improve health, education, arts and culture around the world.
As part of the foundation’s work, Rihanna visited Malawi in January, spending a weekend in the capital Lilongwe. She spent the visit meeting with government officials, stakeholders in education and students of Lilongwe Girls Secondary school.
Rihanna is actively involved with several other humanitarian efforts which has seen her partner with the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen on a multi-year initiative to support education across the world.
In recognition of her work, Harvard University honored her earlier this year with the 2017 Humanitarian of the Year distinction.