Fatima Upper Primary School at Pariyapuram near Perinthalmanna celebrated World Women's Day in a rather proactive style. When others celebrated the occasion by holding classes and seminars, the Pariyapuram school taught its girl students bicycle riding.
About 300 girls studying in the fifth, sixth, and seventh classes were given training in bicycle riding. ‘‘It took nearly two months to train all the girls,'' said Noble Kuriakose, the physical education teacher who trained the girls.
When the school heralded the New Year over two months ago, hardly two dozens of its girls knew how to ride a bicycle. ‘‘Our goal was to enable all girls to ride the bicycle in two months. World Women's Day became a befitting occasion to celebrate our achievement,'' Mr. Kuriakose said.
When Mr. Kuriakose joined the school a few months ago, the school had four bicycles meant for girls and contributed by the Sarva Sikshan Abhiyan. Few girls came forward to use those bicycles.
He encouraged the students and parents to use bicycles. The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of the school too joined the drive, backing up Mr. Kuriakose. Having learned bicycle riding, many students began approaching their parents to buy them bicycles. And many got. Others have been offered bicycles during the summer vacation.
‘‘We could not only teach the girls bicycle riding but also send home the message of independence and empowerment through this act,'' Mr. Kuriakose said.
Angadipuram grama panchayat president Koradan Ramla inaugurated the project by flagging off a bicycle rally at the school on Thursday.
PTA president Manoj V. presided over the function.