The pop philanthropist helps Malawi children get to school by sending bikes

By Ea Francisco | Photo from Instagram

Last January, singer/songwriter Rihanna visited Malawi as an ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education. Since then, she has been actively trying to gain support to education funding, even going so far as to tweet world leaders to commit to the cause. There’s roughly 4.6 million primary and secondary children in the country, but only eight percent actually end up finishing secondary school with girls being at a disadvantage.

This August, she announced that her organization, the Clara Lionel Foundation, will be partnering with bicycle sharing company Ofo in what they call the “1KM Action.” Their goal is to bring bikes to the children of Malawi. What’s the connection between education and bikes? Well, among the many challenges that Malawi children face, Rihanna found that lack of transportation is one of the reasons why children drop out of schools.

“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 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,” Rihanna says in the press release in New York.

“We are delighted to work with Rihanna and the Clara Lionel Foundation on this innovative initiative as we are keen to help improve education accessibility for students living in poverty,” said Ofo CEO and founder Dai Wei. “We believe in unlocking every corner in the world with equal access to education as well as with our bike-sharing scheme.”

Since the company’s founding in 2014, Ofo has delivered 6.5 million bikes to 150 cities in five countries. The 1KM Action will continue to collaborate with the United Nations Development Programme in promoting the use of sustainable and environment-friendly solutions to urban problems.