A bright light shines from Umoja Secondary School in Eldoret, Kenya, where children of Christian, Muslim and traditional African faiths study together and embody their motto- “Together We Rise.”

In this uplifting 3-minute video, young girls conquer their fears, push past cultural constraints, and move boldly towards their dreams – on two wheels.

For many students in rural Kenya, distance is a barrier that prevents them from going to school. With access to a bicycle, all of that changes.

But, Muslim girls in this area traditionally are not allowed to ride. In 2016, 122 students received bicycles at Umoja Secondary School. A group of Muslim girls chose to challenge cultural expectations that confined them. This is what they had to say about their newfound freedom of riding a bike-

“Owning a bicycle has changed my life a lot. I have come to face the world. It has helped me be confident. We can be ourselves, not what people want us to be,” said Ayan, a student at Umoja Secondary School,16 years old.

“It was so surprising to see the Muslim girls riding the bike. It changed my opinion because I now knew Muslim girls, they are just like us,” said Kelly 14 years old.

The campaign will provide life-changing bicycles for students in developing countries where distance is a barrier to accessing education.

Today, World Bicycle Relief announces the start of its year-end campaign for donations, an annual appeal for funds that will provide life-changing bicycles to students living in developing countries.

Donations received now through Dec. 31, 2017, up to $1.7 million, will be matched dollar-for-dollar with the potential of delivering tens of thousands of bicycles to students who are at risk of dropping out due to the challenge of distance and personal safety on the way to school.

This year’s campaign, Together We Rise, highlights Umoja Secondary School in Eldoret, Kenya, where children of Christian, Muslim and traditional African faiths study together and embody their motto: “Together We Rise.”

Like millions of children across rural Africa, many students at Umoja Secondary School endure long walks to school that put their academic futures at risk. Girl students face even more obstacles accessing an education: hours of obligatory domestic chores and the threat of sexual assault on the way to school. On top of these daunting challenges, Muslim girls in this region also confront cultural expectations. Traditionally, they are not allowed to ride bicycles.

When Umoja Secondary School received bicycles in 2016, a group of Muslim and Christian girls, together, chose to challenge the cultural expectations that confined them. This year’s campaign highlights how these young girls conquered their fears, pushed past cultural restraints and boldly pursued their academic goals on two wheels. With bicycles, girls not only conquered the challenge of distance, but also tapped into a newfound confidence and independence that came with riding a bike. Riding together also led to new friendships among students.

World Bicycle Relief is committed to breaking down barriers for girls, helping them achieve their educational goals and become change-makers within their communities and around the world.

By providing a girl a way to get to school safely, she’s empowered to stay in school, get an education and break through the limitations holding her back. World Bicycle Relief is confident that the power of bicycles can play an influential role in progress for girls in Kenya and other developing countries.

Join World Bicycle Relief this holiday season in changing the future for thousands of bright, dedicated and passionate girls by donating to World Bicycle Relief here: https://worldbicyclerelief.org/en/together/