Bikes are changing lives in the slums of Jakarta

Nurul and Selfila talk about their lives before and after receiving bikes through ChildFund Indonesia’s Dream Bikes program which is helping to ensure children living in the dense, crowded slums of Jakarta get to school more easily and safely.

Nurul (pictured above) is quite a shy one. She is 12 years old and in third grade, behind where she should be in school. Because she has dyslexia, Nurul finds it difficult to read and retain information. She has repeated grades several times and even moved to another school. Her mother always accompanies her to school to protect Nurul from bullying. Nurul doesn`t talk much, and looks to her mother to answer questions.

“She always wanted to have a bicycle,” Nurul`s mother explains. “She saw her friends with bikes. One time, she wanted to ride a bike and tried to borrow it from a friend, but the friend would’`t let her. Nurul asked, ‘Mama, when can I get a bike?'”

But the family didn`t have the money to buy a bicycle.

“We need to pay about US$8 per month for the school fees, which I haven`t paid for four months. I don`t know how much a bicycle costs, but I guess it is about US$100. We can`t afford it. It is way too much for us. I only work as a daily laborer, and my husband works as a security guard,” Nurul`s mother said. “What we earn is only enough for food and to pay the electricity bill. Before Nural received the Dream Bike, it took her about 45 minutes to walk to school. She often arrived late, and it was quite tiring for her. I am really happy now that Nurul has been given the bicycle from ChildFund. Praise the Lord!”

“I ride the bike to school,” Nurul says shyly. “I am really happy I don`t have to walk to school anymore! It is much faster for me to get to school than walking. I want to be a doctor when I grow up. I am going to be a dentist!”

Selfila (pictured above), at 14 years old, is in her second year of junior high school. She is the oldest of three children. Her father supports them with daily construction work. Her mother is a housewife.

“I used to walk to school for about half an hour each way, starting early, at 5:30 a.m.,” she explains. “I walked by myself, as my friends don`t live in the same neighbourhood. When I was younger, I was a little scared to walk on the big roads, because there were many cars. Sometimes I arrived at school late because I had to wait for the rain to end. It was quite hard when I returned home too, because the sun was so hot, and I carried so many books. So sometimes I felt too tired to help my mom at home. But now I have the bike, and I get home faster, so I can help her more. I also have more time to do my homework!”

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