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Women in Travel Retail+ to support FRASI Bike to School project in Sri Lanka

UPDATE 4/6/24 - the first bikes for the FRASI Bike to School project have been delivered, with the WiTR+ logo on the baskets.

Women in Travel Retail+ (WiTR+) is delighted to announce that its charity for 2024 is FRASI’s Bike to School project, proposed by Patricia Bona, co-founder & co-owner (with husband Jean-Jacques Bona) of Essence Corp: a Distribution Company of Fragrances and Cosmetics to the Travel Retail Markets of the Americas, based in Panama, then Miami for the past 40 years. 

Of the three charities put forward by WiTR+ members, the Bike to School project had attracted the most votes when polling closed at 23:59 on January 14th.

FRASI, a not-for-profit association based in Lugano, Switzerland, works with disadvantaged and vulnerable children in many different countries and its Bike to School project in Sri Lanka aims to help prevent boys and girls from dropping out of schools, by providing them with a safe means of transportation.

Sri Lanka is going through its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948. Prices have risen, basic products are unaffordable, there are shortages of electricity and fuel. The risk of a serious food crisis and the collapse of the health system, already destabilized by the Covid-19 pandemic are real. This economic meltdown has triggered a political and social crisis with widespread anti-government protests erupting across the country.

In these dire circumstances, children are quitting school. Not only do they lose basic education, but also their only daily guaranteed meal. Furthermore, for many, walking to school is fraught with danger. 

In response to this problem and partnering with local associations, FRASI has launched the Bike to School project which will provide bikes and bike safety equipment to students with good academic performance, coming from families with financial difficulties, and living more than 5km away from schools. Cycling safety lessons, and cycle repair lessons will also be provided.

Patricia Bona, one of the earliest members of WiTR and an active supporter said:  “I am thrilled that WiTR+ members have chosen the Bike to School project as its 2024 charity.  I believe that empathy, support, and collective action can change the world. Together, we can give to one child at a time a chance for better education which is vital to break the cycle of poverty.  If WiTR+ can raise €15,000, more than one hundred girls and boys, from families with few economic resources, will receive a bicycle, a helmet, street safety and bike repair lessons. Our fund raising will help them get an education and get to school safely.  I hope that the whole industry will help WiTR+ to achieve its target.”


For further information about FRASI and the Bike to School project

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