In a bid to promote education for girls from an underprivileged background, an NGO has developed a unique 'bicycles for Educational Empowerment Programme', under which girls who walk to school for more than 1.5 kms are provided with bicycles.
NCP leaders Ajit Pawar and Supriya Sule kickstarted the second phase of the programme in Baramati on October 5, where additional 3,000 bicycles were distributed to girls from underprivileged backgrounds.
"Under this programme, the returned bicycles post completion of 10th grade are reallocated to other needy students who have to walk to school from long distances," NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said in a statement issued here.
Party leader Ajit Pawar said, "The real heroes of this programme are the girls themselves, who walk so many kms to school everyday and have demonstrated their eagerness to learn. It is their courage that made us reach out to donors and organise these beautiful bright pink bicycles for them."
NCP's Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule who rode to the distribution venue on a bicycle herself, said Pune district has always boasted of the best human development indicators, such as education and health.
"The bicycle programme in Baramati is an important part of the ongoing good work in the state and the district," she added.
Santosh Bhosale of the 'Mentor Foundation', the brain behind the programme, said the NCP supremo has already facilitated the donation of 4,250 bicycles to create over 126 bicycle banks in rural schools in Maharashtra since January 2013.
The strategic objectives of the programme include increasing the school attendance for girls, improve school performance for girls, reduce student drop-out rates for girls, resolve school access and attendance issues through increased community engagement, improve student safety during the commute to and from school, particularly for girls, Bhosale said.