Rwanda Girls on Bike: women’s cycling as a vehicle for emancipation and personal growth
The Rwanda Girls on Bike project, in line with the Association’s objectives, intends to enhance the skills and competencies of young Rwandan women who live in particularly difficult situations. The aim is to give them the possibility, through the creation of small income-generating activities and sports practice, even at a high level, to develop self-confidence and self-esteem, essential elements of emancipation and personal growth.
The initiative stems from the desire to exploit the great potential that competitive sport has in overcoming barriers – ethnic, gender, social – and in developing a spirit of solidarity and makes use of the collaboration of Félix Sempoma, president of the Rwandan professional club Benediction Excell Energy, active since 2005 in the athletic and human training of the best Rwandan cyclists and which today occupies the 3rd position in the ranking of all African continental teams.
10 girls between the ages of 16 and 22 are participating in the project, all from large families, peasants, and from a context characterized by a subsistence economy but who, thanks to the bicycle and their athletic abilities, are laboriously conquering their autonomy economic. Some, thanks to the prizes they have received from their victories, have also managed to help families, buying farm animals or even small plots of land for them.
Rwanda is currently investing heavily in cycling, aware of the great potential that this sport has in economic terms and in terms of image return: the Tour du Rwanda is now a race of international appeal and the country has just presented its candidacy to host the 2025 cycling world championships.
In addition to the competitive ones, the next objectives to be achieved will concern the creation of new job opportunities and therefore income for these girls, stimulating training and micro-entrepreneurship.