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.
Sep 30, 2015

NFE: Muon's path

Lotus Outreach’s Non-Formal Education (NFE) program serves over 100 young women working to escape sex-work and harsh labor by learning basic skills like literacy and numeracy, in addition to skills like sewing, food service and cosmetology. Beyond skills and education, these girls and young women gain a new found self-confidence. Here is Muon's Story:

Muon is 24 years old. She was born in Prey Lich Village, Ahcha Leak Commune, Steung Sen District, Kompong Thom Province. She is the youngest among her 5 siblings (2 girls and 3 boys). When Muon was young, her parents got divorced. Her father eventually remarried and her mom passed away when she was in 8th grade. Muon has lived with her Uncle on her mom’s side who has four children. Muon’s uncle was very poor so she worked on the weekends to save money to buy her school uniform and materials. She often helped her uncle farm after school.

Once she had lived with her uncle for 4 years, she was sent back to live with her father because her uncle could no longer afford to feed her. While living with her father she had to sell vegetables at market to earn the means to support her education.

With all the struggle and difficulties Muon had been through, she successfully graduated high school in 2013. Without support and guidance after graduating, Muon ended up working in a beer garden as a hostess in Phnom Penh. She was told by a neighbor who had worked in the beer garden that she could earn $100 + tips. Women who work in Beer gardens make a good salary but are also pressured to make arrangements with men. Muon said that before working in the beer garden, she didn’t know the nature of the work. Muon just wanted to be able to make enough money to support herself.

When Muon first started the work, she was very shocked that she was made to sit and drink with customers to entertain. She was approached for sex often, but always refused. Still, she was physically and verbaly harassed everyday. Although Muon disliked her job, she didn’t know that she had other options. She continued to stay in the business until one day her friend (NFE graduate) told her about NFE program. Muon was told that it was not just about learning to read and write (something that didn’t interested her because she already graduated high school) but also about health issues, life skills, setting goals, skill training such as tailoring, beauty skill and cooking etc. Having heard that, she decided to enroll in NFE program in April 2015. Muon started taking classes and she found out that she really enjoys both literacy and sewing classes.

Eventhough she graduated high school, she still finds the NFE program very useful and interesting. The subjects are much more relevant and more practical than what are being taught in the curriculum of formal education. Muon lives 2kms from her NFE/sewing class so the program has provided her with a bicycle so that she can continue to study and do skill training.

Since she joined the program, Moun has been studying very hard. She is only working one shift at the beer garden now and dedicates the rest of her time to learning literacy and doing tailoring skill training. She hopes to have her own tailoring business in the future so that she doesn’t have to continue working at the beer garden. She wishes to recontrsuct her life so that she never has to face the men at the beer garden who take advantage of her.

She is very happy having joined the program as she has been receiving great mentoring from the programs officers and teachers. She feels the warmth and care the program staff and is very happy to be in a positive environment. Most importantly, Muon is starting to form a plan for her future and how she will achieve it. She would like to express her gratitude to the program staff and the donors, without whom she wouldn’t see light of her life and future.

Muon with her bike provided by LO
Muon with her bike provided by LO
Muon on the left with her NFE friends
Muon on the left with her NFE friends
Sep 15, 2015

Sopheap's scholarship

PEI Scholars receiving sport suit and volleyball
PEI Scholars receiving sport suit and volleyball

Since the last PEI update, all of the 31 scholarship students passed their exams. In other news, in late may, three of the PEI girl scholars attended a women’s volleyball competition. Their team won the first round of the competition and received a volleyball, sport suits, as well as a prize of 100,000 Riels. This was their first time to travel outside the province; they reported that they felt happy and nervous about this competition. In June, an agriculture teacher at Oraing high school conducted training on vegetable growing to all the PEI scholars. Teachers demonstrated methods of growing vegetables and making vegetable gardens in school. The girl scholars reportedly enjoyed the training and were very interested in growing vegetables at their own homes after the training.

Sopheap is a 15 year-old scholarship Phnong student studying in 8th grade at Oraing High School, which is about eight Kilometres away from her house. Sopheap’s walks forty-five minutes to school, up the mountain and through the quiet forest. She lives in Oraing district, Mondulkir province with her widowed mother and four siblings (3 girls, 1 boy). She is the second child in the family. Her father died when she was in 6th grade. Her mother works in the rice fields, and sometimes works as a seed collector to earn enough money support her children. Sopheap also helps her mother to earn money by working in the cassava plantation during the weekends and holidays. Sopheap and her family work hard to earn a living.

Sopheap has received a scholarship funded by Lotus Outreach International since she was in the 7th grade. Since then, she has received 20 note books, 10 pens, 2 sets of uniform, a school bag and $20 monthly stipends (for buying exam papers and food). “I feel extremely happy to have uniforms to wear, more note books to write in and monthly stipend to support my study”, she said.

Sopheap is a hard-working and outstanding student in her class. She is ranked number second among 40 students. Her strongest subjects are math and writing. She is active in school activities and participates in research activities and student council.

Sopheap wishes to finish grade 12 and would like to go on to be a teacher. Her mother expressed that she feels so happy to see that her daughter is a clever student and respectful child and she hopes that she will be a teacher in the future.

With out the support of PEI, students like Sopheap would be forced to drop out of school. Sopheap would like to express her gratitude to all those that have helped with her education including Lotus Outreach and all of its donors.

Sopheap and PEI scholars at computers to study
Sopheap and PEI scholars at computers to study
Sopheap and her mom do house work together
Sopheap and her mom do house work together
Sopheap on her walk to school
Sopheap on her walk to school
Sep 15, 2015

The life of a child survivor

Dana in jean jacket. Blurred to protect identity.
Dana in jean jacket. Blurred to protect identity.

Hello supporters of CWCC!

Since the last report, CWCC counselors have provided a total of 142 individual counseling sessions to 32 clients. With regular meetings, the counselors have noted that the survivors have had a durastically postitive change of their overall well being. Below is a story of a young girl who is receiving care and support from CWCC, here is Dana's story. 

Dana*, one of the recent survivors of sexual abuse at CWCC, is 15 years old. She is the middle child of three siblings. Dana was born in Prey Veng province. Due to poverty, her father moved to Battambang province to work as cook for wedding events. Dana also moved to stay in Phnom Penh and worked as t-shirt artist. She was earning a very small wage that that would not meet her simple everyday needs so she was forced to move to Poipet in January 2015. In Poipet she made more money as a toilet cleaner at Longkleu market in Aranhyaprathet district, Thailand. Dana rented a room at Longkleu market and stayed and worked.

Late at night in February, Dana was raped in her apartment. Her room was locked but the rapist had the key to unlock it. "He threatened me not to shout if I wanted life. I dared not to shout for help", Dana was quoted when recalling the incident during counseling.

After the incident, Dana told her neighbor and aunt about the rape and they told her to report the case to the Poipet police. The police then referred Dana to the CWCC to stay at the safe shelter where she could recover and receive legal support.

Dana experienced a lot of fear and discomfort during the first few days at the CWCC. She said she was very homesick and missed her family. Dana was worried about her court case and was afraid of reprisal from the rapist. The counselors reported that she looked very sad and depressed and liked being alone. She couldn’t concentrate and wanted to go home. After receiving counseling from the CWCC and building relationships with her counselors, she was able to reflect on her strengths and reduce her own stress. She was able to start healing from her trauma through participation in small and large group counseling and meetings. The counselors conducted regular follow-up on Dana’s progress. To reduce her homesick, Dana was accompanied by a CWCC counselor to visit her family and home.

Dana is currently staying in the shelter. She is now healthy both physical and emotionally. She has a good relationship with other survivors and shows her bravery in her ability to speak about her incident with friend and counselors at the shelter. Currently she is attending a sewing class at the shelter. CWCC will continue to take care of her and follow up on her case.

CWCC wishes to express its gratitude to all of its donors who belive in their mission and who continiously allow survivors like Dana to heal from their trauma. 

 Dana*is a name given by the writer. Her real name is hidden to protect her privacy in according to child protection policy of CWCC. The photos are blurred to protect privacy.

Survivor releases stress with art project.
Survivor releases stress with art project.
 
   

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