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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!
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

Links:

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:

Lotus Pedals helps to provide all-terrain bicycles to girls in rural areas who would not otherwise be able to travel the long distance to school. By supplying bicycles to the poorest girls living a minimum of one mile from their nearest public school, this program is a powerful component to our education efforts in both India and Cambodia.

Last December, we gave away 17 bicycles to girl students in Battambang Province in collaboration with our local partner, Cambodian Volunteers for Community Development (CVCD). Let's meet one of the beneficiaries, Sreylim!

Sreylim is 14-years-old and the first daughter of a family of 5 children (3 boys and 2 girls). She is studying in 7th grade at Boeung Bram Secondary School. Her mother, 40 years old, is a single mother and the only income earner in the family. She migrates for seasonal work along the Thai border making $5 per day, leaving Sreylim and 4 other children in the care of her parents. As the first daughter, Sreylim always helps her grandparents look after her younger brothers and sister.

Sreylim lives 4kms from school and was community on foot everyday as her mother couldn't afford to buy her a bicycle. When it became too much, she decided to drop out. Sreylim explains, “I decided to quit school before getting the bicycle because I had to walk to school everyday, around 8kms round trip. Sometimes I got to school late, sometimes I had to miss school. Most of the time I felt tired when I got to school and couldn’t concentrate on the lesson which impacted my school performance.”

 A new bicycle has made all the difference for Sreylim.

"I am very grateful to receive this bicycle. I promise I will not miss school any more. I will study hard to become a teacher so that I can contribute my knowledge to develop my community in the future.”

In 2019, Lotus Pedals is planning to giveaway 420 bicycles to female students like Sreylim, starting with 50 bicycles to be distributed in March. Thanks to all the generous donors that make it possible to keep thousands of girls in school longer through Lotus Pedals!

In 2018 Lotus Pedals plans on providing 328 bicycle packages to vulnerable girls in Cambodia to assist them in commuting to school. So far, the program has given 267 bike packages to girls in different locations such as Siem Reap Province, Pursat Province, Kampot Province, Svay Rieng Province, and Phnom Penh Capital City. Another 61 bicycle packages are going to be distributed in December to Battambang Province and Siem Reap Province.

Each bicycle package includes:

  1. A Bicycle
  2. A Pump
  3. A Lock
  4. A Repair Kit
    • A set of double open-ended spanners (5 pieces)
    • A hex key
    • A screwdriver
    • A set of puncture repair kit

The latest bicycle giveaway ceremony was held on November 15 at Svay Rieng Province, where 80 bicycle packages were distributed. These photos show the beaming faces of the new bike owners! A couple of the beneficiaries share their stories with us below.

Ravy is 15 years old, studying in 10th grade. She lives around 8kms from school. She was very excited and delighted to get a bicycle from the program. She recalled how difficult it was without a bike, “I used to ask my neighbor for a lift to school, but sometimes I had to miss some sessions as my neighbor’s timetable is different from mine—her class starts at 8am whereas mine at 7am. Now that I have a bike, I will never ever be late for school again”, Ravy said determined. Ravy aspires to be an English translator in the future.

Leak is 16 years old, studying in 11th grade. She lives around 10kms from school. When being asked if she has any difficulties getting to school, Leak responded, “I used to have a bike that broke down twice a week, so I was often late for school. This new bike is a precious gift that encourages me to study harder to become a teacher and I will not get to school late any more”, Leak added.

Thank you for supporting Lotus Pedals riders like Ravy and Leak. It is with your help that these students are given hope. 

Ravy, a Lotus Pedals Student
Ravy, a Lotus Pedals Student
Pisey our Project Officer with recipients
Pisey our Project Officer with recipients

Lotus Pedals (LP) aims to increase access to education for economically vulnerable girls especially where distances between their places of residence and the nearest primary or secondary school causes a severe hindrance to their school attendance. The program seeks to improve attendance, academic performance and increase transition rates from primary to lower secondary school for girl children by providing them with a bicycle and repair kit. The bicycle sets are awarded based on selection criteria developed by Lotus Outreach Cambodia (LOCAM) in collaboration with various partners to ensure the neediest girls are prioritized.

On June 5, 2018 Lotus Pedals was able to give away 100 bicycles to underprivileged female students who are from 8 communes (No Rea, Krang Snay, Beung Nimol, Tromaeng, Chres, Baniev, Krang Sbov, and Tor Tung) of 3 districts (Chhouk, Chum Kiri, and Dang Tong) in Kampot Province. The event took place at Chhouk District Education Office with presence of 100 recipients and their parent/guardian, their school teachers, and the Executive Director of Lotus Outreach International.

Each recipient received a bicycle, a pump, a lock, a set of repair kit consisting of a set of double open-ended spanners (5 pieces), a hex key, a screwdriver and a set of puncture repair kit.

While recipients were leaving the event, I noticed one of the recipients standing outside the gate in the sun holding on to her bike, so I approached her and asked what she was doing there all by herself. She said she was waiting for her grandmother. And then she started to show me her feet and explained, ‘look at my feet! I’ve been walking to school since I was in 1stgrade.’ The girl’s name is Oun, 16 years old and in grade 6. She lives with her grandmother about 3kms from school.

When being asked if she has siblings and about her parents, Oun sadly replied, ‘I have two siblings but they are living with my mom in Kompong Som Province. I live with my grandmother in Kampot Province because I couldn’t stand the torture my step father did to me.’ Oun showed her fingers and continued, ‘he broke my fingers.’

Living with her grandmother is not easy because she is old and doesn’t have anything to do to support their livelihood beside rice farming, so Oun needs to help her grandmother growing rice when she is off from school. Despites how hard life is, she is doing pretty well at school. She ranks 5th in the class.

Thank YOU for making these Lotus Pedals bike scholarships possible!

Oun with her bicycle
Oun with her bicycle
More new bike owners
More new bike owners
A Lotus Pedals beneficiary and her family
A Lotus Pedals beneficiary and her family
 

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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

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