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.
Feb 24, 2017

Healing Srey Lys.

Art therapy at the shelter.
Art therapy at the shelter.

Currently we have 53 clients in our Consoling through Counseling program. Twelve of those rape cases include survivors who are under the age of 18. Our work with these young clients continues to be necessary for the proper healing and eventually the reintegration back in to society. With the appropriate attention, these survivors recover and go on to live fulfilling lives. Below is the case study of a client who was sexually assaulted by a family member and is now in our care facility.

Srey Lys is the oldest of three siblings. Her parents work as laborers on the Thai-Cambodian border (crossing daily) where her father got to know another man who started working with them. They became good friends and eventually the man became the godfather of Srey Lys. He requested that the children come and stay with him at nights sometimes to keep him company because he said he was lonely. The parents felt okay about this because he was like a grandfather to Srey Lys, and she would be accompanied by her brother. During a visit, the godfather asked Srey Lys's brother to sleep downstairs and raped Srey Lys. Her brother heard what had happened from the lower floor and told his parents. Sry Lys’s parents took the case to court. The man was arrested by the police and has been taken into custody. He is now in jail awaiting the sentence. Sokni, the CTC counselor, accompanied Srey Lys to court several times. We are still awaiting the verdict.

When Srey Lys first arrived at the shelter, she came with her mother and refused to be left alone. Although Srey Lys was reluctant to stay in the shelter, she didn't want to go back to her village because of the embarrassment that she felt. Her mother convinced her to stay at the shelter and to attend court so that she could complete the case and receive treatment. Srey Lys agreed and enrolled into the school close by to the residential shelter. (It is common that the children at the shelter attend the school near the residential shelter. The teachers work with the counselors to ensure that the client's needs are met. This allows the survivors to continue their studies and have some normalcy in their lives.)

In terms of her behavior, at first Srey Lys was particularly unfriendly towards the other clients in the shelter and responded in a mean and aggressive way if people spoke to her.

Soknyi, the therapist, would ask Srey Lys to paint and color to help get her mind off the negative thoughts and reduce her aggressiveness. She reminded Srey Lys about the rules of the shelter which includes being kind towards others. Soknyi encouraged Srey Lys to be constructive with her energy and put it towards crafts and school.

When Srey Lys would hit people, Sokni would tell her it’s wrong to hit and hurt others. After enough interventions, Srey Lys is now refraining from hitting people. She is also studying hard and has enjoyed sewing after school. These elements have added to her healing process and allowed her to feel like herself again. Although making improvements, it is apparent that Srey Lys will need to recover at the shelter for a while. Rather than staying in her home village and having to deal with the heightened sense of shame and self-consciousness, the shelter encourages a safe place in which there is constant support for the survivors.  

Once she is ready to return home, we will make sure that she has the correct support. As for right now, we are continuing to focus on her healing process.

Thank you to all the donors who have supported survivors like Srey Lys!

Srey Lys and her therapist at the shelter.
Srey Lys and her therapist at the shelter.
Kimmy, a counselor at the shelter.
Kimmy, a counselor at the shelter.
The counselors and the reintegration officer.
The counselors and the reintegration officer.
Feb 22, 2017

Nikita and Babita from Durgapur Village

Nikita and Babita
Nikita and Babita

Our Blossom Bus program continues to bridge the gap between parents’ concerns for their daughter’s safety and girl’s rights to education. Below is a story about how important education is to these marginalize girls and their families.

Nikita and Babita from Durgapur Village have been travelling on Blossom Bus for last four years and are appearing for their 12th grade exams this year in March. Babita told us that she has two sisters and two brothers. Her brothers are working and her elder sisters are all married. She is the youngest and first in the family to reach the 12th grade. Her brothers studied up to the 10th grade and her sister, Laxmi, was married after she finished the 8th grade. Laxmi stopped going to school because her father would not allow her to travel the two kilometers to Aharvan High School because of the harassment she received on the way to school. Thanks to the Blossom Bus, Babita has not been forced to drop out of school like her sister.

Laxmi, Babita’s sister, told us that because she wasn’t well educated, she was married to an uneducated man who earns a meager wage and suffers from alcoholism. He spends most of his earnings on alcohol and doesn’t care for his two children. As a mother, she is worried about the education of her children. Laxmi said that she is happy that her sister Babita will not have to face the situation that she has found herself in because she will receive an education and will not be married off young. Babita wants to go to college but her father is apprehensive about her safety and security. Babita told us, “if I can be accommodated on Blossom to College Bus, I will go to College. Otherwise I am afraid my future will be uncertain. I may not get a suitable marriage and have my life ruined like my two elder sisters who are both suffering because of alcoholic husbands.”

Nikita also wants to go to college but is uncertain as she said that her father is an auto driver and spends most of his earnings on alcohol without caring about the impact on his four children. Because he is an alcoholic he can’t drive properly, damages the vehicle frequently, and spends a lot on repairs. Nikita is terrified of not finishing school because she has seen many of her classmates get married after passing eighth grade and become mothers.

Nikita tells us, “I’m waiting for a seat on the Blossom Bus to College and hopeful of better days ahead if only I can get a seat on the bus to College!” Her mother wants her to study further so that she can become independent and earn money to support her own children’s education. She wants her daughter to get married to an educated person which she says is only possible when she receives an education.

Nikita and Babita are so grateful to the donors who have supported them. Thank you for encouraging these young women as they create promising futures for themselves and their families.

Nikita, Babita, and Laxmi
Nikita, Babita, and Laxmi
Blossom Bus to college
Blossom Bus to college
A Blossom Bus
A Blossom Bus
Blossom Bus beneficiaries
Blossom Bus beneficiaries
Feb 2, 2017

Water is hope for these rural communities.

The village pictured above is called Kraing Sbov in Kraing Sbov commune of Kampot’s Chhuk district in the south-western province of Cambodia, close to the Vietnamese border. 278 households are living in the village, adding up to 1,045 people. The main income generating activity is paddy agriculture and small-scale farming, complemented by animal husbandry and horticulture.

Khan Phan, 41, and his wife Neak Theany, 38, have 3 children living in Kraing Sbov village. Phan’s family members and other members of the community (especially women and children) used to spend a long time carrying water from ponds located 1 to 3 kilometers away from their homes. Water sources during the dry season can be many miles away because many near by water sources dry up. While Phan went to work in Phnom Penh, Phan's wife and children frequently faced obstacles keeping them from bringing home clean and safe water. They were responsible for collecting all of the water needed by their family; therefore, they were often absent from school. Phan said, “We had no choice, we needed to enforce to use unclean water from pond or stream with far distance to collect water. My both children were absent from their school regularly because they were request to fetch water, meanwhile, I am working at Phnom Penh.”

Because of the families economic condition, they have never been able to afford clean water. Their solution? They used and drank unsafe water from the distant ponds and streams. As a result, Phan’s family members have been exposed to an array of water borne diseases. The little money that Phan received from Tuk Tuk driving was then needed to buy medicine and doctor visits. Sometimes, Phan even needed to borrow money from his neighbors. “I frequently sent some money to house to facilitate family needs, especially to buy medicine and to bring my children to visit doctor. Last year I borrowed $250 from my neighbors to bring my children to treat illness at Phnom Penh” Phan added.

A new well pump was provided for Phan’s family and 14 other families in their commune. “My water well community contributed $37.5 and some wood to build the water well fence.” Phan stated. The difficulties of fetching water and getting unclean water are not present anymore for Phan’s community. Now they have access to a water well with an average distance of 20 meters from each house. Health condition have improved because of their lowered risk of waterborne diseases. The children of the community now go to school regularly and can concentrate on their school studies. Family expenditures have reduced as the need for clean drinking water, doctor visits, and medicine have declined immensely. Phan expressed “This new water well embeds deeply meaningful for my local community because it is providing many advantages to upgrade health, education and social economic conditions. We can use water all time we wish no need to fetch water more than 2 kilometers as previous time.” 

Thank you for supporting these water wells. As you can see, they have an immense impact on the communities they are built in. 

 

 
   

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