Rihanna Brings Scholarships and Bikes to Malawian Girls In New Partnership With Bike-Sharing Platform ofo
Rihanna has been ramping up her efforts to further education in Malawi since visiting the impoverished southeast African country in January -- and this time, that involves bikes.
In a new "1 KM Action" partnership announced today (August 1), the singer's Clara Lionel Foundation will join forces with bike-share platform ofo to not only fund scholarships for girls in Malawi through the foundation's Global Scholarship Program, but also donate bikes to those students to relieve transportation challenges in getting to class. The first batch of ofo bikes have already been put into use in Malawi, kicking off what will become a five-year partnership.
"I'm so happy about the Clara Lionel Foundation's new partnership with ofo because it will help so many young people around the world receive a quality education, and also help the young girls of Malawi get to school safely, cutting down those very long walks they make to and from school all alone," Rihanna explains in a press release.
The 29-year-old Anti singer and philanthropist recently shared a short documentary of her January trip to Malawi, where she met with educators, government officials and students as Ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education.
While there are approximately 4.6 million students in primary school in Malawi, only eight percent of students complete secondary school. Girls are disproportionately impacted, and transportation issues are a major contributor to drop-outs. That's where ofo comes in.
"We are delighted to work with Rihanna and the Clara Lionel Foundation on this innovative initiative as we are keen to help improve education accessibility for students living in poverty," says ofo founder and CEO Dai Wei in a release. “We believe in unlocking every corner in the world with equal access to education as well as with our bike-sharing scheme."
Rihanna's educational efforts extend past the African country, as do ofo's. The world leader in bike-sharing has carried out similar 1 KM Action funding projects to support the Clara Lionel Foundation in providing scholarships to U.S. universities for students in China, Brazil, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, Guyana and Jamaica. And just last week, Rihanna met with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace to discuss educational funding for girls in France.
Watch the full video of Rihanna's trip to Malawi -- where the pop star meets with educators, heads a classroom and joins students in a "girls rule" chant -- below.