Volunteer surgeon Dr Rhiana Menen and Tiba Foundation Executive Director Diane Dodge have partnered to improve the lives of girls in Ugenya, Siaya county by introducing them to boda bodas operations which is a multi-billion industry in Kenya.
American Surgeon starts Girls-Only boda boda service in Kenya
Apart from providing a safe mode of transport, the Boda Girls initiative will also help to empower young ladies economically.
Boda boda riders in Kenya make nearly Sh1 billion everyday, translating to Sh357 billion annually.
Dubbed Boda Girls, the initiative was inspired by a dangerous habit that Dr Menen had observed while serving in the local community.
She had been offering medical services as well as training the young women in Ugeny about menstrual hygiene solutions when she found out that some boda boda guys were taking advantage of girls in the area.
“...that is a very common form of transportation in the area in which we work. We had begun to distribute these menstrual hygiene kits and at the end of one of these sessions, these two girls hop on the back of a boda boda and drive away...and the principal at the girls school turned to us and said, ‘That is just so dangerous. Those girls are so vulnerable.’,” Menen recently said during an interview with a US-based radio station.
Upon further enquiry from the principal, Dr Menen learned that sometimes the girls would get assaulted on their way to school or back home.
With the security of the young girls in mind, the surgeon thought about providing girls with an alternative means of transport that they feel safe using.
The program is set for launch in April 2022 and will start by training 12 ladies between the ages of 16 and 30.
Apart from providing a safe mode of transport, the boda girls initiative will also help to empower young ladies economically.
Local boda boda operators earn between Sh400 and Sh1,000 in a day and could help the girls provide for their vulnerable families.
When launched, each boda girl will lease her motorcycle at a minimal price with no interest, then 10-months later they can purchase their own bike with the money they will have raised and pay it forward by mentoring two new boda girls before graduating.
Moreover, the boda girls will be incorporated as community health volunteers to help distribute menstrual kits to locals and ferry residents to and from hospital.
“They will also give about 5000 free rides to the hospital. So any woman who wants to come to the hospital for an ultrasound right now, most women never have an ultrasound, so they don't even know if they have complications.
“If they want a cancer screening prenatal care, they can get a free ride to the hospital. Another big thing that will happen is we expect a lot of girls to stay in high school and finish,” the Tiba Foundation boss said.
Additionally boda girls will get insurance provided for their whole family.
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