Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners' projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her "Postcard" from the visit in Cambodia:
On March 14, Alexis and I visited Louts Outreach's recipients of the Lotus Pedals project. The recipients were 2 young girls who received a bike from the Lotus Pedals program. Before they had the bikes, these girls would have to walk an hour just to get to school. Now the bikes cut the time in half, and they have more time to study in between school and work. Where do they work? The rubbish heaps nearby to earn extra income for the family. They pick things like plastic bottles and items that can be sold to recycling plants. The average income is $1.25USD per day picking rubbish. T
he Louts Pedals project goal is to not only provide bicycles to young girls but to increase awareness about the importance of education for the family as a whole. Lotus Outreach works with families and the schools, before enrolling in the schools Lotus Outreach staff meets with parents to identify needs and challenges for the kids to get to school. Lotus Outreach also helps to decrease the gender gap between girls and boys.
I asked one of the sister recipients what her favorite subject in school was and she said science because she loves the environment. The other said her favorite was social studies and Khmer traditional dancing class. The father said he hoped for the future of his kids involved getting a good job and to stay in school as long as they could afford it. I turned to the girls and asked what they wanted to be when they grew up - one said a primary school teacher and the other a doctor.
Dear friends,We would like to sincerely thank you for investing in the Lotus Pedals project. With your generous support, we have provided nearly 500 young girls with a ride to school and a chance at an education—the most powerful catalyst for eradicating poverty in the developing world.Did you know that an additional donation to Lotus Pedals can be matched 30% today?! GlobalGiving put up $50,000 in matching funds at 12:01 am EST, Wednesday March 14 to give your charitable contribution to our cause an extra boost. Check out how your donation today will grow:$10 = $13$50 = $66$75 = $100$150 = $200What’s more, for this first Bonus Day of the year GlobalGiving is awarding $1,000 to the project that raises the most money and another $1,000 to the project with the most unique donors. This is exactly how you won GlobalGiving’s Girl Effect Challenge for our Blossom Bus project last October, and we know you can do it again!But remember, once the $50,000 in matching funds runs out, the bonus boosts are over. So to make sure you snag that extra 30% AND put us in the running for the $1,000 bonus money, submit your donation now! Thanks again for your continued support!Lots of love,Lotus Outreach
This month we bring you a personal thank you from a recent bike recipient, Pheung Sopheavy. She is also supported by our Girls' Access to Education scholarship program.
I am now in 12th grade at Dom Dek High School and I am the only child of the family who can stay in school this far. All of my siblings dropped out at primary school level to help earn income to support the family. I have been in scholarship program since I was in 8th grade and I would have dropped out just like my brothers and sisters if I didn’t get scholarship from the program.
None of my family members has a regular job; they all do seasonal labor work on other people’s farm and can earn from $2 to $2.50 per day. I also work like them during school vacation. This seasonal income is not enough to support the big family, let alone supporting my education which gets more and more expensive the higher grade I reach. I am very grateful to the program for covering all these expenses for my family by providing me with school uniforms, study materials, monthly stipend, tuition money, and a bicycle on September 27, 2011 when I passed from 11th to 12th grade.
When I was in 11th grade, I studied at Popel Upper Secondary School near home, but the school has only up to 11th grade, so I had to move to Dom Dek High School which is about 15km or 20km away from home to continue 12th grade, the last grade of high school. Normally for students who stay from 8km up from school are illegible to stay in residential home near school rented by the program, but since I need to help with household chores when other family members go to look for work, I asked the program not to stay in residential home and commute to school daily on the bike provided by the program. Without this bike, I would have difficulty balancing schooling and household chores, so my family and I are very appreciative for the bike and we promise to take very good care of it.
I would like to sincerely thank the program for the right intervention and all the advocacies as well as encouragement given to my family that helps my mother see the value of education and allow me stay in school this far. With financial support and spiritual support from the program and my family, I can see a significant improvement in my study from year to year. Last year I ranked between 7th to 10th in the class, and this year I get second and third place every month out of 50 students. I commit to continue to study hard to return your favor and to be able to support my own family in the future as well as to help develop my country.
In the past year, you have allowed us to provide 236 bicycles, pumps, repair kits and locks to impoverished, at-risk girls across Cambodia so they can safely get to school each day:
We have attached several photographs of the bicycle giveaway ceremonies, and thank you again for giving us 236 more reasons to celebrate back to school season.GUESS WHAT? WE HAVE EXCITING NEWS!We know you care about girls getting to school, so we thought we would tell you about another GlobalGiving project that was recently selected to participate in an exciting competition happening RIGHT NOW!Girls in rural India face the same challenges as girls in Cambodia when it comes to getting to school. Heavily trafficked and potholed roads, however, mean bicycles are not an option. Instead, we provide safe, chaperoned bus transportation to approximately 100 girls in Mewat, Haryana—the most regressive districts in terms of girls’ education in all of India.Lotus Outreach has been selected to participate in the first ever Girl Effect Challenge. In the next 30 days, we will compete with approximately 50 other organizations around the world to become one of six beneficiaries of the Girl Effect Fund, a collective giving pool that has raised nearly $700,000 to date.By becoming a Girl Effect partner, we will not only receive significant financial support for our Blossom Bus project in 2012, but we will also get critical exposure to Girl Effect fans around the world. Need proof that this will make a difference? The Girl Effect has 17,500 followers on Twitter, 260,000 "likes" on Facebook and nearly 1,000,000 views on YouTube! And it isn't hard to see why the Girl Effect is so popular: watch this video to learn why.WE CAN’T WIN WITHOUT YOUR HELPBetween now and November 15, our Blossom Bus project must recruit as many unique donors as possible. We are asking all of our supporters to give just $10 during this time period to help us win the competition. Every donation raised during this period will not only bring us one step closer to our dream of partnering with Girl Effect, but will ensure adolescent girls in Mewat, India can safely return to school. By providing bus transportation, we will help many of these girls escape childhood marriage and become the first girls to reach high school in the history of their villages!You can make your $10 donation today at http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/the-blossom-bus/HELP US GO GUERRILLAWe know we can do this! You helped Lotus Outreach win a similar challenge in 2009. But we also know how important it is to get our supporters mobilized and engaged. Please tell your friends, family and colleagues about this competition and ask them to pledge their support. Every donation counts so please help us spread the word far and wide through email, Facebook and Twitter!Questions? Please contact email@example.com.
From October 2010 to March 2011, the Lotus Pedals project gave away 186 bicycles to vulnerable girls across Cambodia, with 45 more scheduled for distribution in the coming weeks. Eighteen year-old Roeun Sonang, a grade 9 student at Chan Sor lower secondary school is one of them. Her family rents 1.5 hectares of land to grow rice, but after turning over nearly half of their yield to pay the landowner, they must still buy rice to eat a few months of the year. With her father, a soldier, stationed at the Thai border, the family doesn’t have the manpower to increase their yield.
The pressure to drop out is omnipresent, but Sonang and her family are determined that all four children should stay in school. They work seasonally and live largely on vegetables that they grow in their garden, rarely eating meat. Until Sonang was selected to receive a bike, the kids walked about 1.5 kilometers to school. She explains what a difference the bike has made for her.
“Since I had to help around at home in between school and had to walk that far, I sometimes got to school late, sometimes had to miss school, and most of the time I felt tired when I got to school and couldn’t concentrate on the lesson which impacted on my school performance,” she says. “I came 15th to 20th in the class then. After getting the bike from the program, it eases me in both traveling to school and to attend any activities with Youth Club. I now arrive on time and can pay full attention on the lesson. I rank between 5th and 9th in the class now!”
What’s more, she carries her younger siblings on the back, so in fact, four children benefit. Sonang and her family wish the best of luck and success to you, the donors who make Lotus Pedals possible. She is determined to make good on your generosity by studying hard to become a lawyer. With a bike to get to school, her chances just got a whole lot better. Thank you!
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