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Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!

by Lotus Outreach
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!
Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!

This year we planned to provide 273 bicycle scholarships to economically vulnerable girls, targeting areas where distances between their places of residence and the nearest school are far and thus affect school attendance.

In mid-January, Lotus Pedals gave 15 bicycle packages including the bike, pump, lock, and repair kit, to 7th grade GATE scholars from Angkor Thom High School in Siem Reap Province. The remaining bicycle packages were to be distributed in March, however, due to the COVID-19 crisis, schools have been closed since the middle of March and are expected to resume only in November, with the start of a new academic year. In light of these obstacles, distribution has been delayed but it is our hope that we will be able to distribute all of the remaining bike scholarships by the end of this year. Lotus Pedals recipients live 2-5 kilometers from school, so access to safe and reliable transportation makes a huge difference in their ability to attend school consistently and easily.  

We followed up with many Lotus Pedal recipients to see how they are doing during this difficult time. Sreyreath is an orphan and lived with her aunt until she left her village to study Economics in Siem Reap city. Sreyreath expressed her gratitude for her bicycle, even as her University is closed and offers no online learning. She has returned to her hometown, again living with her aunt and helping to take care of her nephew. Her family has struggled financially during the pandemic, and Sreyreath is worried about falling behind as her school remains closed. 

“These days, I don’t use the bicycle to go to school but I ride it to the market and sometimes for exercise. It is the best transportation for my life, it stays with me all the time. It is also my best friend and it will bridge me to a bright future. This bicycle is very meaningful to me because it helps me to get to school and wherever I want to go, near or far” expressed Sreyreath. 

A tool as simple as a bicycle can transform these girls’ lives; providing safe, independent and reliable transportation. Thank you for your support in providing access to education to these wonderful young women. With a bicycle, they have a ride to school and thus a ride to their future! 

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Sreyhang (left) with her new bicycle
Sreyhang (left) with her new bicycle

In mid-January, Lotus Pedals gave away 15 bicycles (including pumps, locks, and repair kits) to seventh grade girls in our GATE program at Angkor Thom High School in Angkor Thom District, Siem Reap Province. These Lotus Pedals recipients live 2-5 kilometers from school. A bicycle provides them with crucial access to education. Education = Empowerment! 

The girls also received scholarships through GATE. A scholarship covers other resources they need for education like study materials, school uniforms, tuition money, and rice. With a bicycle and a scholarship, we remove the obstacles that stand in the way of a girl not only receiving an education, but thriving in her studies.

This giveaway happened to coincide with a Board of Directors and staff team visit to Lotus Outreach Cambodia (LOCAM). The group came to visit the young women, children and families that this work supports, and were able to experience the bike giveaway first-hand! 

After the giveaway, the group was invited to the home of one of our scholars who lives about five kilometers from school. Sreyhang is 14 years old and in seventh grade. She is the eldest daughter of three children. Before receiving the bike, Sreyhang usually asked for a lift to school on her friend's bike. Sometimes, when her friend didn't go to school, she had to either walk or miss school entirely. 

“This bicycle means a lot to me. I am so happy that I no longer have to rely on my friend to get to school anymore. I will study hard and I want to be a scientist," Sreyhang shared with a big smile. 

Thank you to all the donors for giving new hope to a young girl so full of potential!

Sreyhang and her mother at home
Sreyhang and her mother at home
Bike recipients with the Lotus board and staff
Bike recipients with the Lotus board and staff
Our president sticks a Lotus Pedal logo on a bike
Our president sticks a Lotus Pedal logo on a bike
Sreyhang's family at home
Sreyhang's family at home
Sreyhang at home
Sreyhang at home

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Sreykat and Vattey riding their new bikes!
Sreykat and Vattey riding their new bikes!

The school year in Cambodia starts in November, so to ensure students have means of transportation to school, Lotus Pedals gave away 50 bicycles to secondary school female students in Takeo Province in October.

After the giveaway ceremony at school, the program visited two students, Sreykat and Vattey, at their home and asked a few questions:
(a) if they think education is important and why,
(b) if what the new bike mean to them, and
(c) if what they imagine for their future.

Sreykat is 13 years old and studying in seventh grade. "The reason that I go to school is because I have a dream, which is to become a teacher of Khmer Literature. I think education is very important because if we are not educated, it will be hard to get a job. When we are educated, it is very easy, we can do any work," Sreykat explained. "Before getting this bicycle, I had an old bike that broke down very often and the brake didn't work either, so I was always worried that I would hit people or fall over because of the bumpy road. I am very happy to have received this new bicycle. Thank you (the donors) so much for your generous support."

16-year-old Vattey is studying in 9 th grade. Vattey wants to be a teacher and here's why: "I want to be a teacher because I want to teach my villagers to be educated so they can get a good job. I am very excited to have received this bicycle. This bicycle will help me to pursue my future. Before, I had an old bicycle to ride to school but sometimes it broke down on the way--the tire often got flattened or punctured--so I had to walk to school on 2km road."

"Sometimes my mother took my bicycle to the rice field, so I had to walk my younger sibling to school," Vattey added. Vattey is very grateful and would like to give her gratitude to all the donors for this generous gesture.

Your donations over the years have been so meaningful. Because of your generosity, we have been able to keep more than 3,000 girls in school as long as possible. We strongly hope that you will continue to stand with us to make our mission worthwhile.

Sreykat
Sreykat
Vattey smiling
Vattey smiling
Riding off happily
Riding off happily
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Sopheak
Sopheak

Meet Sopheak. Sopheak is from Nokor Krao Village, Kouk Chork Commune, Siem Reap District, Siem Reap Province. She lives with her family in a small house with palm leaves for walls and a roof made of tin. 

At 12 years old, she is the first daughter in the family of two children. She is studying in sixth grade, her younger sister is 6 and in first grade. Her father (36) works as temple construction worker and her mother (30) as a cleaner at a private company. Both parents are illiterate.

Sopheak's father can make around $4 a day for 22 days a month and her mother's salary is $75/month. With such meager income, it’s challenging for the family to get by. Their home is 3.5 km away from the nearest school and without the needed funds to buy Sopheak a bicycle, her only option is to walk to school everyday. 

"I always arrived to school late and didn't get to help my classmates clean the classroom and I feel bad about that," Sopheak explained. "Sometimes I would ask my friend for a lift and other times my parents took me to school; however, when my parents took me to school, they got to work late because the school and their workplace are in different directions."

Can you imagine how Sopheak felt when she received a new bicycle from Lotus Pedals? She was beside herself. She couldn't stop smiling! Now she makes it to school on time and, in addition to having access to education, she also gets to help her classmates clean the classroom. 

"I feel so good that I don't need to bother my friends any more," she shared. "My parents don't have to get to work late because of me. I can even give my younger sister a ride to school, as well!"

Sopheak wants to be an English teacher someday. She wants to help younger generations in her town learn English so they can find good jobs. 

She is grateful; for the bicycle and for the newfound hope in her future. And we are so excited to see her carry this gratitude forward as she pursues an education with the absolutely noble intention of helping others. 

Thank you for your donations. Thank you for your generosity. This work goes out like ripples in water, creating hope and a brighter future for generations to come!  

Sopheak and her mother at home
Sopheak and her mother at home
Sopheak receives a bicycle
Sopheak receives a bicycle

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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

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Organization Information

Lotus Outreach

Location: Ojai, California - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @lotusoutreach
Project Leader:
Alexandra Land
Ojai, CA United States
$88,299 raised of $90,000 goal
 
1,312 donations
$1,701 to go
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