Apply to Join
Jul 5, 2019

Getting Well: Clean Water for Tha

Well location identification
Well location identification

Lotus Outreach International's Getting Well project, in partnership with the Cambodian Organization for Children and Development (COCD), has facilitated water users to form 12 well management committees for 12 water wells (one committee for one water well). There are three leaders (chief, vice chief, and treasurer) in each committee who are elected by other water users. The committees are responsible for:

  • Proper operation and maintenance of the wells by collecting required maintenance cost from water users
  • Seeking necessary technical support and guidance from COCD/ engineer/ Provincial Department of Rural Development/ local mechanics if necessary
  • Maintaining necessary records like income, expenditures, and meeting minutes

To promote ownership, the project called for participation from villagers in the form of labor and cash contribution (if possible). The villagers were happy and agreed to contribute 12 plots of land to locate the water wells. Moreover, villagers contributed local resources such as wood and labor to build fences around the water wells to keep cows, pigs and buffaloes out of the well compounds. 

By the end of June 2019, 11 water wells were successfully drilled and used by 899 villagers (414 females) including 273 (151 girls) children as well as 12 (1 female) disabled people.

The water from the 11 water wells has been tested in the Resource Laboratory Water Analytical Results in Phnom Penh to ensure its quality and that it is safe and free of arsenic, bacteria and other chemical matters. The result showed the water from 11 water wells is clean and safe for drinking and other usages.

48-years-old Tha is one of the beneficiaries of the well. She lives in Prey Veng Village, Srey Khnoung Commune, Chum Kiri District in Kampot Province with eight family members. The family occupation is farming--raising a few animals and growing some vegetables for household consumption.  

Because their income is not enough to support everyday expenses, Tha's two children were forced to give up school, migrating with her husband, 52-year-old Chear, for jobs in other provinces very far from home.  

Living without her partner and having to breastfeed a baby who often gets sick, presents difficult challenges for Tha. Not only does she have to manage life on very little money (sent by her husband) for their four children’s education and to buy land to fill a hole around her house to prevent flooding during the rainy season, but she also has to deal with a shortage in water.

"Before having the well provided by the project, I used to carry water from a neighbor’s well quite far from my home to use every day," Tha shared. "I usually carried water on my bicycle at least four times a day and it took me around 40 minutes each time. Almost everyday my family members were so worried about getting water that my children often arrived to school late because they were helping me carry water." 

In the rainy season, Tha's family used water from a pond, a shallow ring well, and a stream, but she observed that they often got sick with diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. In the dry season (February to May) most of the water sources dry up forcing her to use an alternative water source even further away (around 1km) and to buy water.

In March 2019 we completed the installation of a pump well close to her home. This has made a big difference in her family's well-being. "I found some significant changes to our life," Chab shared. "We stopped worrying about carrying water a long distance, my children have enough time to learn and they always go to school on time, and I do not have to buy water any more. Moreover, my children are healthier."

Tha also uses the water from the well to grow vegetables and feed animals. She is very grateful to have a well close to home. Tha would like to express her gratitude to the Getting Well project and to the donors for caring for her community and giving life and hope to her family and the 15 families who now benefit from this new well.

Well committee meeting
Well committee meeting
Who wants a well?
Who wants a well?
Completion of the well
Completion of the well

Links:

Jun 4, 2019

Lotus Pedals Gives Away 208 Bicycles!

Sreytouch with new bike
Sreytouch with new bike

Lotus Pedals has planned to giveaway 416 bicycle sets in 2019. So far, 208 bicycle sets have been given away. The rest of the bicycles have already been allocated but will be given when it is close to the new academic year, as school vacation is from August to October.

Out of the 207 bicycle sets, 50 were given to students on an island close to Phnom Penh Capital City called Koh Dach (we had to take ferry there), 100 given to students at Prey Nub District, Sihanoukville Province (more than 200kms from Phnom Penh) in collaboration with KHEMARA Organization, 33 given to students in Siem Reap Province (more than 300km from Phnom Penh) in collaboration with Bayon Education and Development Organization, and 24 bikes given to scholarship recipients of Lotus Outreach in Phnom Penh in partnership with Cambodian Women's Crisis Center (CWCC).   

We could see the excitement in the faces of the girls receiving bicycles with all the fixit tools. A small group of girls gathered under the shade and helped each other inflate their tires with beaming faces.

After the giveaway ceremony, we drove our car past a village and saw our bike (we could tell it was our bike because of the sticker with our logo on it) in front of a humble looking house, so we dropped in to say hello. We met seventh grader, Sreytouch. She lives with her young aunt and older sister who dropped out at ninth grade to work in a garment factory. They live about one mile from school.

Sreytouch has three siblings (she is the second daughter), two of which are with her parents who are working and living in the provincial town and hardly come home. Her mother is a home cook for Chinese people, her father a security guard. Her younger brother is studying in fourth grade and her youngest sibling is in kindergarten.

Sreytouch said she has been walking to school since first grade, sometimes missing school when it rained because the road was too muddy to walk. Because of irregular attendance, she ranked twentieth in the class. Now that she has a bike, she is committed not to miss class any more. She also set a goal to get tenth place in her class! We told her we would check on her performance again in a few months to see if she had reached her goal.

Sreytouch is very grateful for her bicycle and is determined to study hard to become a biology teacher!

Sreytouch at home
Sreytouch at home
Girls pumping bikes
Girls pumping bikes
Group photo
Group photo
Group photo
Group photo
Holding Lotus Outreach logo
Holding Lotus Outreach logo

Links:

May 28, 2019

CATALYST Scholars "Pay it Forward"

Students receiving study materials
Students receiving study materials

This year CATALYST Program took its scholars on a study visit to Mondulkiri Province on May 12-14. Mondulkiri is 390kms from Phnom Penh Capital City and is well known for its forested hills and powerful waterfalls. Eighty percent of Mondulkiri's population is made up of ten tribal minorities, with the majority of them being Pnong. 

The study visit this year was different from the previous years because our CATALYST scholars came up with an initiative to "pay it forward" by providing study materials to Pnong students at Pula Primary School in Oraing Commune, Mondolkiri Province as they believe that education is the key to break the cycle of poverty.  

Pula Primary School was a community school and has just been recognized as a public school in the past few years. However, the school has not been developed and there are not enough rooms for every grade that two grades are merged into one and there are only 46 students in the whole school from grade 1 to grade 6.

To be able to provide study materials to all the 46 primary school student, the CATALYST scholars began raising funds in March. By the end of April, they had raised $512 -- enough to provide each primary school student with a school bag, a raincoat, 5 notebooks, some pens and pencils, a pencil sharpener, an eraser, and a ruler!

Actually, CATALYST program didn't have enough budget to take all the 44 scholars to Mondulkiri, but all the scholars were willing to contribute their money to the program so we could pursue our first charity mission. Altogether their contribution came to $558.50, a significant amount to make it happen!

The school is very remote in the middle of nowhere on a hilly road some 10kms off the main street. We were worried as it was very cloudy that day and if it rained, our 45 seaters bus wouldn't make it to the school. Fortunately, it didn't rain. 

When our bus was approaching the school, we could see many children waiting in the school compound and they were smiling in excitement. The school is located in an open space with no fence surrounding and there is only one building with 4 classrooms made of tin roof and old wooden walls. The small children in grade one and two cannot understand simple Cambodian/Khmer (they talked to each other in their ethnic language). No wonder they looked puzzled when we were trying to explain what they should do after primary school regardless of the long distance to lower secondary school (10km) on a hilly road, and all the opportunities out there when they have high education.

After a short talk to break the ice, the CATALYST scholars took turn to give study materials to all the students. Five scarfs with Lotus Outreach Cambodia's logo were also given to the school principal as souvenir for him and his four other teachers. 

This Pay It Forward mission was accomplished with high satisfaction, leaving a lot of good memories, positivity and pride with our scholars. Below are some reflections.

"Seeing their happy faces, I felt very humble as it reminded me of my childhood. I remembered having to stand in the school yard, in the warm morning sun, waiting to receive books and pens from high ranking government official, and now I found myself on the other end of the spectrum giving back to those in need," said Vorn.  

Soy reflected, "I used to feel that I am the most unfortunate one not having enough to support my education. Only when I arrived at the school, I then realized those youngsters have even less than I do. I feel pity for them and I hope they get to finish school to be free from ignorance." 

Srey added, "I am inspired to study hard so I can make good money to help build human resource for our country by helping to educate children in need like them."

 

Happy to get the study materials
Happy to get the study materials
Happy to get the study materials
Happy to get the study materials
CATALYST scholars with students
CATALYST scholars with students
Study materials
Study materials

Links:

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.