Bike with Purpose
Caye Caulker, Belize
“I am deeply passionate about enabling others who may not have hope, because my own life is a testimony that it is possible to rise from the ashes. After joining The Ocean Academy school opened in 2008 as the very first and only community high school on the island of Caye Caulker. As a result, more than 90% of students are enrolled in school. Many of the students are the first in their families to attend high school. Today, there are 125 students enrolled in Ocean Academy and 25 students are directly involved in the Bike with Purpose project. As the local economy of the island has shifted to aquatic sports, tourism and hospitality services the youth involved in the project develop the skills and training needed for future employment opportunities. Further, the project has reduced the school dropout rate.
On the remote island of Caye Caulker, students often have to travel to the mainland to receive a quality education. This barrier leads many by the age of 12, to choose to quit school and join the workforce. Nation-wide, only 50% of secondary-aged youth are enrolled in school. Prior to the opening of Ocean Academy in Caye Caulker, only 35% of students continued past primary school. The local economy on the island was based on fishing and boat building and lacked other opportunities for the community.
In partnership with Ocean Academy and Planeterra sought to create a student-led bicycle tour of the island, that is now called Bike with Purpose. Planeterra raised donations to fund needed bicycles and other materials. Planeterra also connected Bike with Purpose to our tourism partners, creating a constant stream of travellers. Bike with Purpose funds nearly 15% of the educational programs for the students at Ocean Academy.