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

With the start of the new academic year in January, Lotus Outreach Cambodia worked to give as many bicycles as possible to girls who live far from the nearest school. Bicycles ensure students can get to school safely and on time. This month, 225 bicycles together with pumps, locks, repair kits and helmets have been distributed to underprivileged girls from 4 schools in remote districts of Siem Reap Province and NGO students in Siem Reap City and Phnom Penh Capital. 

Pea is a student at Bayon Primary School Project, one of our partners in Siem Reap. Her family lives in a protected area, in which they are not entitled to ownership of the land nor are they allowed to do any business. Her family’s only income is her father’s wage as a construction worker, which is not regular. 

This year Pea is going to grade 7 which is 4 km from her home. It is already challenging for her parents to put food on the table and to keep Pea and her two siblings in school, let alone get her a bicycle. Her father used to get up early to take Pea to school on his old motorbike before heading to work and she either got a lift back home or waited for almost an hour for her father to leave work and pick her up. 

Now, with a bicycle that gives her freedom and reliable transportation to and from school, Pea is determined to study hard to become a teacher and educate the young generation so they won't be trapped in poverty.  "This gift means so much to me. I now can travel to and from school by myself. I am very grateful. I will take good care of the bike." 

Thank you for being a part of our global community. Your support ensures access to education and empowerment for the most vulnerable through LO’s simple, innovative solutions. We couldn't have made it possible without your generous and ongoing support. 

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Lotus Pedals provides bicycle kits (bicycle, pump, bike lock and helmet) for low income female students across Cambodia with the aim of increasing female enrollment rate as well as to ensure students get to school safely and reguarly. When a student recieves a bike, their family pledges in writing to keep them in school for at least two years. 

Srey is 20 years old. She is currently studying in 12th grade at Hun Sen Borey High School. She has 8 siblings, 3 sisters and 5 brothers who are looked after by their recently widowed father.

Before receiving the scholarship, Srey could not afford to buy study materials. In 2019, Srey’s mother fell sick and died. Her family situation which was already dire became much worse with only their father’s income to support them. They had cut down to two small meals a day. Srey picked up a job washing clothes to help buy food and save money for school. "It was very difficult for me, I used to feel like quitting school to find a job to help my family, but I think that if I quit school now, my life and family would not be better, so I have to study hard to have knowledge, find a job, earn a lot of money to help my family.”

Srey was in 11th grade when she applied for and was awarded a GATE scholarship, to help her complete high school. Through GATE she was awarded study supplies, a bicycle kit and rice support for her entire family until the completion of her high school. 

"The scholarship program has provided me with a lot of support such as school supplies, tuition money, clothes, rice, especially I also receive a bicycle, which my family couldn't afford to buy for me. I feel so excited to have a bicycle to pedal to school and I no longer have to worry about getting to school late or relying on others. I now can focus better on my study to prepare for the high school diploma exam in late November, 2022."

None of what we do would be possible without your support. We believe that together we can make a difference. Thank you so much! 

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Sokleap and family
Sokleap and family

In 2022, we plan to award 311 bicycle scholarships. So far, 278 have been distributed; 48 were given to beneficiaries of our partner Bayon Pastry and Primary School in Siem Reap and 42 to our long-term partner Passerelles Numériques Cambodia (PNC). 60 were given in Kampot Province, 50 in Pursat Province, 60 in Kondal Province and 18 to a new partner in Phnom Penh—Enfants d'Asie Cambodge. 

The latest giveaway was in Takeo Province in May of 2022. 60 bicycles were given to students from 3 schools in very remote locations. The main source of income for people living in these areas is cutting bamboo to sell or weaving grass roof tiles for sale otherwise, many people migrate to the capital city in search of labor work. During the bike giveaway ceremony, we told the recipients about our CATALYST program that gives scholarships to girls to pursue their university degrees. We hoped to inspire them to stay in school through year 12 even through the daily challenges that they face in such a remote region. We could see many of the girls excited by the idea of attending college. 

After the bike giveaway ceremonies, we followed a few students home to see their living condition and travel the long roads they take to and from school each day. 

Sokleap is 13 years old, studying in 6th grade. She has 2 younger brothers. Her father works in Phnom Penh driving a sand dredger, and her mother cuts bamboo to sell. Sokleap used to walk to school which took her 40 minutes. When it rained, she couldn't go because all of her belongings would get soaked. With a bicycle, Sokleap can get to school quickly and on time. "With this bicycle, I won't be late for school anymore, and even when it rains, I still can pedal to school. I am very delighted!” She says she aspires to be a primary school teacher! 

Sokleap’s school only goes through the sixth grade, after which the distance to the nearest secondary school is 10 kilometers. With the bicycle, we hope that Sokleap has the option to continue past 6th grade as well. 

 

Sreythorn is 14 years old, studying in 6th grade. She is the youngest daughter of 4 children. She doesn't have a father and her mother weaves grass roof tiles to sell. Her elder siblings all dropped out at 9th grade to help their mother earn a living. Sreythorn used to walk to school alone. She said: "I feel scared, so scared that someone would abuse me on the way. I don't know how long it takes me to get to school, but I just know that it takes very very long. I have to pack lunch from home to eat at school because my house is too far from school to come back for lunch; I only come home in the evening. Thank you very much for giving me a bicycle. It helps me to travel faster and feel safe. I am excited!” How far are you going to stay in school? She replied with a big smile on her face, "I am aspired to be a doctor, so I will finish high school and apply for scholarship from your organization to study at university." With her determined look, we believe that she will make it, especially since she's already planned to stay at her aunt's house when she has to go to study at 7th grade at the nearest lower secondary school which is more than 10 kms from home. 

We couldn't have made this possible without your generous and ongoing support. We believe that together we can make a difference in many girls' lives, not just through high school but into college and professional life. Thank you so much!

Sreythorn with her mother
Sreythorn with her mother
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In 2021 we didn't expect to be able to give away any bicycles as schools were again closed at the beginning of March due to a Covid outbreak. Students at all levels were doing distance learning until mid-September when the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports announced that with an 88% vaccination rate, schools should begin reopening.

With this new development, Lotus Pedals was able to resume activities. By December of 2021, we had given away 69 bicycles, pumps, locks and helmets to female students who live at least 1 mile from school and were identified as being most in need of a bicycle. 

In 2022, we plan to give away 311 bicycle sets. In January, we were able to distribute 90 bicycles, locks, helmets and pumps, of which 48 sets were given to beneficiaries of our partner Bayon Pastry and Primary School in Siem Reap and 42 to our long-term partner in Phnom Penh Passerelles Numériques Cambodia (PNC). 

Tith Sopheameta, studying IT at Passerelles Numériques Cambodia (PNC) was very happy to receive the bicycle. "I am so delighted having received the bicycle. It is very beneficial to me. I can get to school fast and on time. My school also has sport activities outdoors and far from school, so it is pretty convenient that I have my ride to get there. Besides, when I am stressed, biking helps me feel better. I am very grateful for this precious gift."

Thank you for your generous and ongoing support. None of what we do would possible without you! Thank you. 

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At the beginning of the new academic year (February 2021), Lotus Pedals provided bicycles to 12 of our CATALYST university students. Bicycles help scholars get back and forth to college and extra curricular acitvities and are a safe, independent and enjoyable means of transportation. We are so happy to be able to continue to gift bikes to beneficiaries, who relish the freedom these simple vehicles provide. 

Manavy is a first-year student in English Literature. She lives with her father on a plot of rented land in Siem Reap. When Manavy was in primary school, she had to walk, or catch a ride to school because her parents couldn't afford to buy her a bicycle. Her mother sold deep fried bananas on the street, while her father cleared weeds and grass on people's farms and properties, earning on average $1.25 per day. They worked hard because they wanted Manavy to have education, but their combined income was not enough to even buy rice to eat, let alone afford study materials and school uniforms for her, so they had to borrow money to keep her in school. Manavy still remembers her mother telling her: "life is very difficult without education, so you have to have some knowledge because only education can help you get out of poverty in the future and I cannot take care of you forever." She says it is her mother's words that inspire her to pursue her studies and never give up, regardless of how challenging her family situation is. 

In high school, Manavy got a scholarship which allowed her to complete her studies and graduate. Unfortunately, around this time, her mother fell very sick and they had to borrow money from a relative to treat her condition, but even after treatments, her mother continued to detiorate and passed away in March of 2020. With her mother gone, her father was coping with his loss and also worried about the debt they had accumulated, it was an incredibly challening time for their family and they worried about making ends meet. After some time, her father found a salaried job as a gardener, earning $125 each month. With this salary, they are able to pay for rent, food, medicine and other daily expenses.

Manavy found out about CATALYST scholarship from her friend who saw the announcement on Facebook. She applied, passed the social audit and was admitted into the program in February 2021. She was given a bicycle to commute to university, in addition to routine CATALYST support which includes monthly allowance, school fees, accommodation, computer & English tuition fee, textbook money and 15kg rice per month.

Manavy is very grateful for the support. She said, " Lotus Outreach is like my second family who always cares and makes sure I have all the means to acquire education. My father used to drop me at school before going to work, and I used to ask for a lift from friends to get back home, but now I have the bike so that I can pedal 3kms to college, 4kms to study English and practice using computer at CATALYST residential home, exercise with my friends, go to the market and library etc. With the bicycle, I can roam freely which is pretty convenient, unlike before when I couldn't go anywhere due to not having a means of transportation."         

Manavy would like to thank to Lotus Outreach and donors for supporting her. In the future, she wants to teach tourism at local and international universities. Thank you so much for your ongoing support and for building better futures for young women like Manavy. 

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Lotus Outreach

Location: Ojai, California - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @lotusoutreach
Project Leader:
Maya Norbu
Ojai, CA United States
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