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.
Jan 12, 2016

Pheap pursues an education

Pheap and her mom with Pheap
Pheap and her mom with Pheap's bike!

Dear Lotus Pedads sponsors,

As you may know, Lotus Pedals gives the gift of education to girls in deep poverty, where public transportation is often nonexistent. It also gives these girl students a feeling of mobility and confidence as they pedal with speed down rural roads with friends to and from school. The following is a success story about Pheap, a student that has benifted greately from the Lotus Pedals program.

Pheap, is in 12th grade at Nimith high school. Pheap lives in Reaksmey Meanchey village in Banteay Meanchey. Her father Vann Sokear, 42, is a laborer and her mother Sin Sophea, 39, is housewife. Pheap has 3 female siblings and she is the oldest. All of her siblings are in school.

Pheap’s family is very poor and does not own any paddy fields to cultivate rice or vegetables. Their property is just large enough for their home. Her father works locally, along the Cambodia-Thailand boarder to support Pheap'sfamily. Often her family can’t afford rice to cook. Pheap has always helped her family with household chores and has frequently quit school so that she could work as laborer to support her family.

A teacher advised Pheap to enroll back in school, so she applied to the GATE scholarship program. Pheap was selected as one of the scholarship recipients. Since 2012 when Pheap was in 9th grade, she has been receiving support from Lotus Outreach through CWCC (Cambodian Women Crisis Center). Her family has been receiving special rice support of 50kgs per month since 2012. Both the educational scholarship and the rice support have been vital to her family over the past four years.

Before getting the scholarship, Pheap found ways to catch rides with friends on their bikes. Because of that, her attendance was very irregular and she often had to miss school. To ease her commute and ensure she didn’t have to miss school due to lack of transportation, the program provided her with a Lotus Pedals bicycle. She felt very happy to receive the bike and it really helped with her attendance. When she reached 10th grade, school was 20kms away from home, so Pheap was placed in the residential home near school. She rides her bike home every weekend to see her family and helps them with chores. She has been studying very hard and is one of the top ten students in her class of forty-five.

In late 2015, during a scholarship giveaway event, Pheap was given a new bike along with a pump to replace her old bike that was given since 2012. Her old bike has now been passed down to her younger sister. Pheap is very happy because now her sister can also bike to school.

Pheap is very grateful for all the supports, financially and spiritually. She is committed to her studies and hopes to peruse her education as long as she can. She wishes to become a secondary school teacher specializing in Khmer literature so she can help educate younger generation to be educated like her. 

Jan 4, 2016

Sima's story.

Sima
Sima

The GATE and GATEways objective is to enhance the life options of at-risk girls and their families and to reduce their vulnerability to violence and trafficking.The GATE program currently provides primary and secondary educational scholarships and holistic support to 422 girls in Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh provinces. This past year 87 GATEways scholars were supported by Lotus Outreach and Cambodian Women’s Crises Center (CWCC) which was made possible through the support of donors like you. The following is Sima's story, a driven scholar that has been supported by both the GATE and GATEways program.

Sima, who is currently twenty-three, joined the GATE program in tenth grade. Sima states, “My family situation was such that going from grade sicth to grade seventh – my parents wanted me to drop school at and I did not attend school in the 2nd semester. Being very young at that time, I had to follow my parents and although the CWCC were looking for scholarship girls, my parents did not hear about it.”

When Sima was in ninth grade her parents were again putting pressure on her to drop out of school due to family poverty. Once the school principle found out she immediately approached Sima’s parents and let them know that she Sima could receive a GATE scholarship if they kept her in school.

While Sima was receiving her GATE scholarship, she was determined to make a positive change for all of the GATE scholars. It is importantly noted that when Sima sees room for improvement, she lets people know! Sima was the first student to request rice support which inevitably became part of the GATE program. Sima also requested that stipends be distributed in the beginning of the month rather than middle, to make paying rent and purchasing food easier. Sima has shown signs of her forward thinking since highschool!

Sima said, “I was the special case in 2010 and while two other girls didn’t get the funds untill later, I got my stipend every month.” Sima reflects on her past, “In grade 11 I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. One of my friends told me she wanted to be a lawyer and we were one and two in the class. We were very competitive. We also ended up studying in the same university and we were always competing, she even did the French degree as well.”

Upon her graduation a few years later she received a scholarship at the Royal University of Law and Economics. After graduating from University with a double degree in Law and French with the support of GATEways, Sima received a scholarship to peruse her Masters degree in Law. Although this was a great opportunity, Sima’s family requested that she take a few years off of school because they needed her to work to help make ends meet.  

In July 2014, Sima started at working for ADHOC(The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association). Since then, her salary has increased impressively and she is now sending more than half of her salary home to her family. Some of the money that she is sending home is supporting one of her sisters in school.

Sima speaks about her recent job experience, “First I was working for enfant du Mekong as a social worker, not really the job I wanted. Then I saw there was a job available at ADHOC. The job is teaching Law to the community and I really love that. It was especially interesting to me as it is helpful to the community to teach them about rights. Sometimes I advise them on how to approach the court – domestic violence/gender/women’s rights/marriage – right age and not forced – marriage certificate – many of them don’t therefore have marriage certificate / rape.”

“70% of the rape cases I have put forward have been processed in the court and I do the follow-up to ensure case are being taken up or issue a legal position to push the process and ensure the case is going through the court toward a verdict,” Sima says proudly(rightfully so!).

Sima plans to go back to school to earn her Masters in Law after a few years of working. We are encouraging her because of the great work we know she will do and the many lives that she will impact

Sima is very thankful the support that has provided by donors like you. Her success is a wonderful example of how GATEways can change lives and impact many more. Thank you for believing in women like Sima! 

Sim and Glenn our Director of Field Operations
Sim and Glenn our Director of Field Operations
Sim at work!
Sim at work!
Dec 31, 2015

Eum's golden opportunity

Eum beautician skill training
Eum beautician skill training

The Non Formal Education program provides education and vocational training to around 130 sex workers and their children for 2-3 hours, 5 days a week for 1 year. With this training, 75% of the NFE students leave the red light districts for jobs or peruse further educational training. The story below explores Eum's experience before NFE, and how it is currently impacting her life. 

Eum is a 19-year-old who was born in Tropang Vihea Village in the Takeo Province. Eum is one of three siblings. Her father has not been present in her life and her mother passed away in 2014. When Eum’s mom was sick, her family fell deeply into debt and Eum had to drop out of school so that she could take care her mother and support her siblings’ education. To make a living, Eum caught fish that she then sold at market.

In 2012, Eum decided to come to Phnom Penh to look for work. She bounced around a couple jobs and then found a housemaid job for a nice family with a monthly salary of $50. Besides doing household chores and looking after children, Eum also helped her boss to sell clothing at market. According to Eum, her boss felt pity for her situation and often gave her money and bought her snacks. Unfortunately her boss’s wife became very jealous and Eum was forced to leave her job.

When Eum was out of work, she was told by her cousin that working at a karaoke parlor was profitable and easy job. Since Eum had nowhere else to go, she agreed to work at the karaoke parlor. Eum made a good salary and earned between $50 and $100 tips per month that she would send to her family. Eum was paying rent and barely had enough money to survive. Eum started only eating one meal a day; the free meal she was given at the karaoke bar. While being interviewed for this report, Eum cried while explaining that she would do whatever she can to make sure her two younger siblings are educated because there are only the three of them now that her mother has passed away.

While working in the karaoke, Eum met with the NFE(Non Formal Education) officer who went there to promote the NFE program and its benefits. Eum was interested because she missed the chance to be educated when she was younger. Eum wants to be able to read, write, and comprehend more. Eum enrolled in the NFE class on May 28, 2015 and qualified to do beautician skill training in November. She earned the qualification by studying hard and currently ranks at one of the top students in her class.

When being asked about the differences the program has made, Eum explained “Before joining the program, I couldn’t write much. When I wanted to note down what I wanted to buy before going shopping, I couldn’t do so. I couldn’t read big words either; I had to ask people what the words are and what they mean. People used to get annoyed and didn’t want to answer me. Some spoke behind my back that I am so stupid because I am not able to read or write. I feel much better than before now because I don’t need to bother people—I can read and write by myself! In the future, Eum wants to have her own beauty salon in Phnom Penh where they are in high demand.

“Thank you so much for giving this orphan with such a golden opportunity. This means a lot to me and I will do my best to realize my dream. I won’t make your efforts go to waste and I won’t make the donors disappointed,” Eum said when asked to give her final thoughts to her experience with NFE. “With the new skill, I will give my all to make sure my two siblings finish university,” she added.

 

Job skill training
Job skill training

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