Feb 4, 2019

Having a Bicycle Impacts Lives

Bicycle distribution
Bicycle distribution

Here is a true story of a 13 year old girl, named Salong, who received a bicycle from Trailblazer and how it changed her and her parents' lives.

Salong lives with her family in Dong Pa Av village, Pongro Krom commune, Chikreng district, Siem Reap Province. She is in grade 5 at Ta Por Primary School in Tapor village, Pongro Krom commune. Salong’s family is very poor. They live in a small house and have a small rice field located far from their village. Salong is the oldest daughter of four siblings. They had only one old bicycle to share between the entire family, which was used for traveling to work in their rice field and care for their cows in a field outside the village.

Before Salong received a bicycle from Trailblazer, Salong's father needed to take her by their only bicycle the six kilometers distance to school. She often missed class when her father was busy with supporting his family. Sometimes Salong traveled to school with her friend, but getting home was difficult because her friend’s class finished before hers, and traveling alone was unsafe.

In May 2018, the head teacher of Ta Por Primary School asked Salong and her parents to come to the school to receive a bicycle from Trailblazer Foundation.

Salong now uses her bicycle to get to and from school every day. Her father has more time to care for his cows and tend to their rice field because he doesn’t need to take Salong to and from school. The family is very happy.

On Sundays Salong uses the bicycle to help her parents in the rice field, and to take care of her younger brother while they watch the cows together. Salong also uses her bicycle to take her friend to school because now her friend’s bicycle is broken. Salong is happy and loves to go to school.

Salong's parents promise to do whatever its takes to see that Salong finishes school and finds a good job. They thank Trailblazer Foundation so much for giving Salong the bicycle.

Happy students
Happy students
Dec 19, 2018

Improving Lives in Rural Cambodia

Mr. and Mrs. Van with Board Member Justine Auton
Mr. and Mrs. Van with Board Member Justine Auton

On behalf of Trailblazer Foundation’s Board of Directors and staff, I want to express our deepest gratitude for your continued support of our work in rural Cambodia. You deserve the credit for all that we have accomplished in 2018. Over 6,000 rural villagers have a better quality of life because you wanted to help. That’s impressive, and we thank you for your role in this significant accomplishment.

So, what sort of improved quality of living did you help make a reality in 2018? On a recent trip to Cambodia, Trailblazer’s newest Board member, Justine Auton, spoke with Mr. and Mrs. Van, a married couple with three children living in a rural village about an hour outside of Siem Reap. This is just one story we could share from our work during this past year.

The Vans are farmers with a bit of land, where they have been growing rice and vegetables for years. Yet, they live on less than $2 a day. Their challenging situation inspired them to take advantage of two of Trailblazer’s programs: our Health Program (which provides Cambodian villagers with water filters and wells) and Food Security Program (which trains families how to grow more productive gardens).

Mrs. Van explained that, this year, she and her husband first participated in one of Trailblazer’s 28 homestead garden trainings. She then proudly told Justine that her family is already experiencing real benefits from having gone through our agricultural training. “Our lives are changed. We now grow better rice and vegetables. We work a lot more and it is good for my husband and our children.”

Next, the Vans asked Trailblazer to drill a well, so the family of five could have cleaner water for their cooking and personal hygiene, as well as more water for their crops. This allowed the Vans to not just grow food for themselves, but produce enough crops to sell some at the local market. Better yet, with the increased income and water, the Vans were able to buy some cows to raise and sell for beef.

Trailblazer’s Food Security Manager in Cambodia told Board member Justine that, through the changes the Vans made with their garden, the family’s income had increased about 150%. And there was potential for that to increase even more. Mrs. Van explained the impact on her family.

“Before we just had a little money and now we have a lot more. We have vegetables to take to the market all year round now. Our lives are easier, less stressful.”

If this story warms your heart as much as it does mine, I hope you’ll feel the same sense of accomplishment I do for having played a role in that success story. And I hope our success will excite you to make a year-end contribution to Trailblazer, so we can continue transforming the hopes and aspirations of Cambodian villagers into reality.

GlobalGiving is running a Recurring Match Campaign through the end of the year.  Your recurring donation will receive a one-time 100% match.  Start your recurring donation today!  

Such a simple act can, and will, produce powerful life-changing results for families like the Vans. Together, in 2019, we can improve the lives of even more people in rural Cambodia. Thank you again. 

Best wishes, 

Chris Coats, Executive Director / Co-Founder

Links:

Nov 7, 2018

Our Goal Has Been Reached!

A bicycle delivery
A bicycle delivery

We are very excited to report that we have met our 2018 goal of 100 bicycles, due to the very generous contribution made by a long-term individual donor for another 50 bicycles. These bicycles will be disributed in the near future.

For 2019, Trailblazer's goal is to distribute another 100 bicycles to students in need. Each year Trailblazer works with government and education officials to learn the location of students in need of a bicycle. Students who are selected to receive a bicycle are identified by the government as poor, through a questionnaire process prepared by the Ministry of Planning. The questionnaire includes a number of poverty indicators, as follows:

  • Housing condition, which includes roof, wall, area, house quality (and specification of whether it is the household’s property or is rented).
  • Size of legally owned residential land and productive agricultural land.
  • Main source of income from growing crops or fishing, or other activities. - Animal raising (such as raising fish for sale).
  • Ability to meet food requirements.
  • Number of household members unable to earn an income, relative to the total number of household members.
  • Material goods and equipment.
  • Means of transportation.
  • Unexpected problems or serious crises which cause the households to lose income, experience food shortages, sell property, or go into debt.
  • Number of children aged 6 to 11 years who missed school, and the reasons.
  • Situations which cause deterioration of the household’s living conditions, such as the head of household (husband or wife) suffering from serious disability or chronic disease, households consisting exclusively of elderly members, households with orphans living with them, female-headed households with many young children, or households with no members with the capacity to work.
  • Situations which improve the household’s living conditions, such as assistance from relatives or other income sources. 

You can see that there is quite a process involved in determining the students most in need of a bicycle. Often that bicycle is the only mode of transportation for the entire family.

We are also proud to report that the construction of two more primary schools are nearly complete. Trailblazer had not planned to construct a school in 2018, but due the very generous contributions of five donors, we initiated these two projects in February and May, respectively. Each school will be able to accommodate 480 students, for a total of 960 students. This will result in students who graduate each year to the secondary level of their education needing bicycles.

We can’t express enough how grateful we are to donors who help us reach our goals. More importantly, it is the generosity of those donors who impact the lives of students by giving them the means to continue their education, and further their families hope for a better life.

We hope you will consider helping us reach our goal of 100 bicycles for 2019! Thank you.

Waiting for their bicycle
Waiting for their bicycle
 
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