United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign Announces Expansion of SchoolCycle Initiative to Guatemala

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Funds raised from holiday giving campaign will help provide bicycles to adolescent girls in Guatemala so they can travel to and from school safely

“With a bike, a girl is empowered to complete her education and break the cycle of poverty for her whole community," said Melissa Hillebrenner, Director of Girl Up.

Girl Up, the United Nations Foundation’s adolescent girl empowerment campaign, this week announced that it will be expanding its successful SchoolCycle initiative to Guatemala. This announcement kicks off the holiday giving campaign that aims to provide bicycles to adolescent girls in Guatemala through United Nations programs, where six out of 10 indigenous girls drop out of school by age 15.

“I’ve always been a huge proponent for education,” said actress and SchoolCycle celebrity spokesperson Katherine McNamara. “However, so many girls around the world don’t have that opportunity to pursue an education. For them, a bike is a symbol of freedom and the tool that can transform their future.”

Adolescent girls in Guatemala face unique challenges that prevent them from reaching their full potential. By age 18, almost 40 percent of indigenous girls are married; 70 percent of adolescent girls who become mothers live in poverty, while 80 percent leave school. Girls often drop out of school due to long commutes through dangerous areas to get to the closest secondary school. Girls frequently travel in groups for fear of harassment or even violent attacks along their route. A solution to this can be as simple as providing a girl with a bike so she can travel to and from school quickly and safely.

“SchoolCycle is such a simple and special opportunity to change a girl’s life in Guatemala,” said Melissa Hillebrenner, Director of Girl Up. “With a bike, a girl is empowered to complete her education and break the cycle of poverty for her whole community.”

A gift of $125 will provide an adolescent girl in Guatemala with a bike, spare parts, and maintenance training through UN programming. This year’s campaign will build on the success of the initiative’s 2014 launch in Malawi, where more than 500 girls received bikes. For more information, or to donate to SchoolCycle visit GirlUp.org/SchoolCycle.

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About Girl Up
Girl Up, the United Nations Foundation’s adolescent girl campaign, supports the empowerment of girls everywhere. Since its launch in 2010, the campaign has funded UN programs that promote the health, safety, education, and leadership of girls in developing countries and built a community of nearly half a million passionate advocates - including Girl Up Global Advocates Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan and Latin American business leader Angélica Fuentes.

Our youth leaders, representing more than 1200 Girl Up Clubs in 66 countries, stand up, speak up, and rise up to support the hardest to reach girls living in places where it is hardest to be a girl.
Learn more at GirlUp.org.

About The United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit http://www.unfoundation.org.

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Alexandra Schauffler
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