June 3rd was World Bicycle Day. Amongst the many messages online was West Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s tweet which notified how the distribution of bicycles under ‘Sabooj Sathi’ program has reduced school dropout statistics.
Bicycles empower. Bicycles are environment-friendly. Our Govt in Bengal has distributed 1 crore+ bicycles to boys/girls of all communities under Sabooj Sathi scheme, enabling them to attend school even from far-off places. This has reduced drop-out rates. The Sabooj Sathi project was declared a ‘Champion Project’ at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prizes, given by ITU, a United Nations organisation in 2019, out of 1,140 projects across 18 categories.
The scheme Sabooj Sathi was introduced in 2015 in West Bengal and it’s been reported that over 1 crore bicycles have since been distributed across many communities. These bicycles were given to students (girls/boys) of class 9-12 which sees more dropouts every year.
The objective behind this scheme was to enhance student’s access to Secondary Education and hence, was aligned with four Sustainable Goals of agenda 2030. The scheme further expected:
To increase retention in schools
According to the tweet by Banerjee, this program has been tremendously successful, allowing children to travel from far, which has definitely shot up the attendance of the schools in the state.
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