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!
In Kampong Cham Province, outside of the Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh, lives a young girl named Nita. Nita is in the 5th grade and is the oldest of 3 children. Her mother is a single parent who works as a paid laborer in the rice fields and struggles to provide for her children’s future.
Like many students before they received a bicycle from Lotus Pedals, Nita had difficulty getting to school on time, because there are no school buses to take her. Sometimes she would sit on the handlebars of her friend’s bike to get to school. Otherwise she had to walk over a mile through streets which are very dangerous for a girl as young as Nita. She missed many days of school and her education was starting to slip away.
All of that changed when she received her very own bicycle from Lotus Pedals. The ride to school became much shorter and safer, and now Nita is in the top quartile of students in her class (eighth of thirty-five students).
Just $62 can provide a girl with an all-terrain bicycle and a repair kit to keep her bike in perfect working condition! Transportation is essential to making education possible.
Education is one of the greatest things that can happen for a girl in Cambodia. According to the World Bank, when a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children; an extra year of secondary school boosts her eventual wages 15 to 25 percent. Increased wages enhance a woman’s bargaining power in the household and consequently her ability to meet the needs of her children.
Despite these truths, 70 percent of the world’s out-of-school children are girls.
Your generosity helped Lotus Outreach deliver 784 bikes in the last year! By helping Lotus Outreach perform this vital service, you are making sure that young girls like Nita have a chance to break the cycle of poverty and advance to greater things.
Thank you for supporting Lotus Outreach and Lotus Pedals!
Morokot is 12 years old and the third daughter of a family of four siblings, one boy and three girls. She lives at the Krang Angkrong Pei village, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Morokot studies in the sixth grade at the Cambodian Volunteers for Children and Development Kork Khleang Pei Primary School, at the Kork Khleang Pei community. Her father, Savorn, is 69 years old and works as a tuk-tuk driver. Her mother, Chan, is 48 years old and works as a food seller.
Sien’s family is very poor. In 2011, her father had a traffic accident and broke his right arm. Since then he's in pain and can no longer drive the tuk-tuk for as many hours as he did before. He drives people in his community just to nearby places and hence is only able to earn an irregular income. Sometimes he can make US$2.50 per day, but sometimes nothing at all. Since the accident, the family’s situation has become increasingly difficult. They had to take a loan from a microfinance establishment to start up the food-selling business. And their oldest daughter, Silen, had to drop out of high school to work in a garment factory to help support the family and repay the loan.
The family now thoroughly depends on the mother’s and Silen’s income. The mother can make around US$5 in profits from her business per day and Silen earns US$120 monthly. However, they still struggle to make ends meet and cover the house rent, paying back the business loan (US$20 per week), purchasing pain medicine for the father, water and electricity costs, and schooling for three children.
In the midst of the family struggle, Morakot tries to stay focused on her studies. She loves reading Khmer literature. She tries to study hard. However, at the beginning of this academic year, her school performance was being negatively affected by the fact that she had to walk 2 miles to school, as it impacted her ability to get to school on time and regularly.
Morokot’s luck changed when she was selected as a Lotus Pedal recipient in April 2014. Here is how she describes the impact the bike has had in her life:
“Before getting the bike, I had to walk 2 miles on a road to get to school. Since I had to help around at home in between school and had to walk that far, I sometimes got to school late. Sometimes I had to miss school. And most of the time I felt tired when I got to school and couldn’t concentrate on the lesson. This had a very negative effect on my school performance. I came 15th to 20th in the class then. After getting the bike from the program, travelling to school has become so easy. I now arrive on time and am able to pay full attention in class. My school performance has improved too! I rank between 4th and 11th now!”
Thanks to Lotus Pedal, Morokot now can ride her bike to school. Having the bicycle makes a big difference on her ability to attend class, be attentive, and ultimately on her ability to complete her studies. Morokot is deeply grateful to the Lotus Pedals program. She is determined to study hard and pursue her aspiration to become a doctor.
Morokot and her family wish the best of luck and great success to all the donors who so generously supported Lotus Pedals! We at Lotus Outreach second their best wishes!
The sun is rising again after a very long night in Cambodia. In the Phnum Kravanh District of Pursat Province, in the foothills of the Cardamom Mountains, we embarked in the early morning to deliver 150 new bicycles to school-age girls with no transportation options to get to school.
Here, the roads are difficult and unpaved. The rutted dirt tracks are lined with heavy forests leading up into the mountains and hillsides. By dawn’s light with a truck full of bikes, we trundled through the ancient hills until we reached the provincial capital.
For many of the beneficiaries of Lotus Pedals, having an all-terrain bike will mean cutting their transportation time to school from hours to mere minutes. The bikes are outfitted with tough tires, baskets and wheel-covers, so these girls can get to school rain or shine! We even provide maintenance kits and pumps, all for just USD $62.00!
Phnum Kravanh is named for the same Cardamom Mountains by which it is located, and it is also the site of Lotus Outreach’s well-drilling program. While local community leaders showed us that a well we installed last year was still flowing perfectly, villagers began to gather near a local school in preparation for our big bike distribution ceremony.
We rolled up to the schoolyard where more than 100 schoolgirls and their families, teachers, and representatives from the local government had assembled. Speaking before the group we explained to agreeing faces importance of education and the terms for accepting a Lotus Pedals bicycle. Girls and their families agreed to keep their daughters in school for at least two years after receiving the bicycles, and 95 previously-selected girls were presented with brand-new all-terrain bikes!
As the sun rose high into the noon sky, 95 girls took off in all directions wobbling and laughing as they got used to their new bikes. Their parents followed behind, alone or in pairs, and watched as their young ones raced forward towards their homes and their own brightening futures.
Lotus Outreach’s work was not done after this one stop. Our truck, now lighter of load, still had 55 bikes which we intended to distribute in Veal Veng. It took 3 or 4 hours to get there, and we arrived thankfully before nightfall.
In the morning, we investigated more water wells as the preparations began for another big bike giveaway. This time the District Governor and the head of the District Education Office spoke before the audience, underlining the importance of girls’ education and thanking the donors who made this program possible. Once again, 55 fortunate girls spun off on their bikes into the bright afternoon.
By dusk we had returned to the capital. Our truck was empty, and the stars were peeking out from the indigo sky above the darkened, distant mountains. Cambodia, and in particular Pursat, has seen some dark days in the past 40 years. But the sun is rising again in Cambodia, and the new generation is racing ahead to a developing future.
Thanks to YOU for brightening the lives of these girls through your generous contributions. Please consider donating to support Lotus Pedals and give a girl the gift of education!
Sross is a student at Hun Sen Prek Pra Lower Secondary School, a school named for Cambodia’s longtime dictator, Hun Sen. Living just outside of the country’s largest city, Phnom Penh, Sross’s family subsists on just a few dollars per day of income. She has three sisters and two brothers, but only she and one of her brothers have not quit school.
“My three elder sisters all work in the garment factory,” she tells us. “Some get $70 or $80 per month, but if they work overtime, they can get $100 per month.”
Life working in a garment factory is not easy, and even though the pay is not high, the modest wages are highly sought after by men and women throughout Cambodia.
Young Sross though, has higher aspirations: “As for me, I am not working in the garment factory. I am studying.” She explains, “In the future, I want to work using my intellect. I don’t want to do manual labor.”
Sross is one of the hundreds of Cambodian girls who have received bicycles from Lotus Outreach’s Lotus Pedals this year. Since January of 2013, Lotus Outreach has ensured that 302 young riders can get to school to attain their dreams. The program has identified 381 additional students who may qualify to receive a bicycle, and still thousands of girls across the country want to attend school, but have no means of transportation.
Before she received a bike through Lotus Pedals, Sross either had to get a ride with friends, or walk 4 km to school by herself. Her eyes well up with tears talking about the difficulty of getting to school. Walking long distances is not just inconvenient; it can be dangerous because of violent crime or very difficult and muddy in the rainy season.
To overcome the difficulty of a long commute, even in rainy weather and muddy roads, Lotus Pedals provides its young scholars with heavy-terrain bicycles. The bikes come equipped with a basket for carrying supplies, all-terrain wheels, and a back wheel cover to shield the rider from mud and rain thrown by the wheels.
“Now that I have the bike, I can go to class and even attend additional sessions on some days. I never miss school!”
Less than 24 percent of Cambodians finish secondary school, and the percentage of girls who graduate college is in the single-digits. Nonetheless, Sross is determined to be the first in her family to complete college and become a lawyer. She says she wants to serve the falsely accused and the poor who cannot afford representation.
So many girls are determined to do great things if we just give them the opportunity that an education affords! Just US$80.00 provides a girl with a fully equipped bike, a repair kit and a pump. This small expense is affordable for so many but out of reach for these young women seeking to improve themselves and their community.
With tears in her eyes, Sross tells us, “I am very thankful to the donors for providing me with this bike.”
Thank you so much for supporting Lotus Outreach and making the dreams of girls like Sross possible!
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