Lotus Outreach

Lotus Outreach International is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the education, health, and safety of at-risk and exploited women and children in the developing world. Lotus Outreach achieves its mission by supporting effective grassroots projects in vulnerable communities.
Dec 23, 2014

Paying the Gift of Education Forward!

Thaeg smiles at her new job!
Thaeg smiles at her new job!

The Phnong Education Initiative (PEI) provides scholarships to children in profound need in Cambodia, which include housing assistance so they can live closer to school and complete their studies. Furthermore, PEI supports training for Phnong-speaking teachers so they can return to their home villages and pay forward the gift of education by helping other linguistic minorities succeed in the public school system.

This past fall, Thaeg, aged 18, completed her 2-year PEI training program and passed her final examination with funding provided by Lotus Outreach. After her completion of high school and teacher training, Thaeg became a teacher at Sre Iy primary school this past November.

Thaeg commented on her difficulties in school as a young, minority child and her dream of becoming a teacher in order to help other minorities like herself succeed.

“Teaching is my favorite job and [was] my dream when I studied at primary school because my ex-primary school teacher, Ms. Sophea, had encouraged me... She is friendly to students and is a very supportive teacher. She is always in my heart and I would like to say thank you to her. When I was in grade 1, I was not able to communicate well in the Khmer national language while it was taught in the classroom, as I am a Phnong speaking child. I could not understand and learn quickly, because I was often absent from school because I felt I made too many mistakes when I talked to my teacher in the Khmer language. Because of this, I had to repeat the first grade.

I understood the situation and I am now a primary teacher who can speak two languages—Khmer and Phnong– and it is very easy for me to teach students, especially Phnong children in early grades, to learn and communicate well in Khmer. I am excited to meet new teachers, students and communities in my new school. I hope to see many Phnong minority youth [obtain] jobs in the government sector. In 2 years, I would like to be a secondary school teacher...”

Help others like Thaeg receive education and give back to their communities. Access to education is a universal right that we at Lotus Outreach believe all should receive. Support us in taking further steps in this hugely impactful direction!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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Dec 15, 2014

Pedal for Education, Independence and Joy

Dory receiving her bike with fellow students!
Dory receiving her bike with fellow students!

Lotus Pedals gives the gift of education to girls in deep poverty, where public transportation is often nonexistent. It gives these girl students a feeling of mobility and confidence as they pedal with speed down rural roads with friends to and from school. For just $62 a girl receives a new bicycle and a repair kit to ensure her education, and also a sense of independence seldom offered in such rural conditions. Support this movement!

Take Dory Seyva for example. Dory, 12 years old, lives in the Cambodian village Chub Pring within the Thmey commune located in the Kampong Rou district. She currently studies in grade 7 at Thmey secondary school and has 3 siblings. She is the oldest in her family along with two younger sisters. They all live in a small hourse without a latrine or nearby well. Her father, In Sam Ol, and her mother, Koem Savourn, work as laborers in a nearby farm to just barely make ends meet. As a result of such poverty, Dory often suffers from malnutrition and lacks the basic study materials needed to complete her studies.

Before Dory got a bicycle from Lotus Outreach through Lotus Pedals, she always relied on asking a friend for a lift to school. Quite often her friend was absent and thus, she had to frequently skip school. Her home is 6 kilometers away from school and her family could not afford to buy her a bicycle.

Lotus Outreach was able to sponsor Dory and purchase her a bicycle and repair kit. Dory said that she is extremely happy to have a bicycle like some of her other friends. She no longer has to worry about asking her friend for a lift to school. She can now attend school regularly and does not need to rely on anyone, but herself. Up till now, her bike is still completely new because she always looks after it and cleans it after each use whether it is a trip to school or a ride with friends.

In the future, Dory dreams to be a great teacher at the state school near her home village and she is committed to studying hard to reach this goal. Last but not least, she would like to thank Lotus Outreach very much for providing a great bike to her to allow her to study harder and pursue her dream. She promises that she will continue her studies and looks forward to graduating from high school!

Dory second from the left riding her new bike!
Dory second from the left riding her new bike!

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Dec 15, 2014

Nai Lee's Counseling and Reintegration

Lee reunited with her family!
Lee reunited with her family!

Gender-based violence is prevalent throughout Cambodia. Widespread rape is a reality that many Cambodian women must confront and often without emotional, psychological or legal support. Our program, Counseling and Reintegration, executed by our local partner CWCC, serves to counsel and reintegrate survivors in addition to raising social awareness regarding such gender-based violence in order prevent further assaults.

The following story demonstrates the beneficial work this program can accomplish with your further support!

Nai Lee* aged 14 from Banteay Meanchey, often had to stay with her mother’s cousin at the border area, because her mother worked as a laborer along the Cambodian-Thailand border. During one stay, a strange man Lee did not know sexually raped her. Although Lee did not tell her mother after the rape, Lee did tell a neighbor who soon after told her mother.

Hearing about the incident, Lee’s mother skipped work and immediately took Lee to the police station to file out a complaint to pursue the rapist. Lee’s case was then taken to Banteay Meanchey provincial police station for legal proceedings. Through interviews, the crime division was able to identify the suspect and later arrest the man.

Lee was referred by the crime division to stay at CWCC’s safe shelter and receive program services. Although Lee received good medical care by the shelter staff including accommodation, meals and clothing, she suffered deep mental fear. Lee still hated men. She could not relax. She spoke in a very loud voice when meeting with the counselors and the shelter staff. She had arguments with other clients in the shelter as well.

Our team supported Lee through this difficult period and provided her with individual and group counseling sessions. She also underwent art therapy techniques such as drawing and painting. Lee was excited about such art therapy and ultimately reduced arguments with other clients, while our staff witnessed significant improvements in her mental health.

After this period of counseling, the CWCC’s reintegration team met her to discuss her plan to return to her regular life based on her request to reunite with her family. Through family and community assessment, the CWCC’s reintegration team supported Lee with a life start-up grant including sleeping and kitchen materials, groceries, and a stipend from funding provided by Lotus Outreach.

In return, Lee’s mother stated: “I am happy for the quick actions by authorities and CWCC’s support… my daughter's case has gone through the legal process and the perpetrator was arrested and is being prosecuted for his crime.”

Since this statement, Lee’s perpetrator has been sentenced to 7 years in jail and Lee was awarded financial compensation. In addition, CWCC’s reintegration team has been conducting ongoing visits to see Lee’s progress and to provide ongoing counseling and support as needed. Although Lee has not fully healed up till this point and still faces significant distress, this program has allowed Lee to make huge strides in her healing process and also in reintegrating her back into her regular life.

Support Lotus Outreach and our partner, CWCC, to help so many other girls like Lee that are in profound need of such important aid!

*Nai Lee’s name has been changed to protect her identity

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