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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!

Having been on halt for many months due to Covid-19, finally Lotus Pedals is back in action! Although students are still doing distance learning and online study, they have been going to take handouts from teachers at school a few times a week. To ensure an easy and safe commute for those who live far from school, 157 bicycles were distributed in September! 77 bikes went to students of Girls' Education Initiative Project in partnership with KAPE in Kompong Cham Province & Tbong Khmum Provinces and another 80 bicycles were awarded to scholarship students of Girls' Access To Education in partnership with CWCC in Siem Reap Province. 

After the distribution, we randomly visited several recipients at their home and Lida was one of them. When we arrived at her home, we saw the new bicycle standing beneath the house and her mother weaving a mat. She told us that Lida had gone to look for a red thread to tie around her wrist as a blessing for getting a new bicycle. This symbolic action alone tells us how much the bicycle means to her. A short while later, Lida came back with the red thread and we were able to talk with her about her family, school, challenges and dreams.

Lida is 15 years old, studying in 7th grade at Angkor Thom Lower Secondary School in Siem Reap Province. She is the youngest of 9 siblings. Only 3 of the siblings have received some level of education, Lida and one other are the only ones in school currently. The rest of the siblings and her parents have received no education at all. 

Lida and her family live 2 kms from school, a commute she has made by foot since she was in 1st grade. She is very happy and excited to have received a bicycle for the first time! Lida said, "With this bicycle, I will get to school on time and won't be afraid any more. Before, I had to take a shortcut through a rice field which is very quiet and I was always afraid that someone would hurt me. When it rained, the rice field became very muddy and slippery. I had to keep my school uniform and books in a plastic bag to prevent them from getting dirty and I changed when I arrived at school." 

Lida is inspired by her father, a former soldier. She also wants to become a soldier because she wants to protect people, their properties and Khmer territory. However, her mother doesn't want her to do that because it is dangerous. She wants Lida to be a teacher or a doctor. Considering her mother's wish, Lida has a second career option which is a doctor. When asked about her hopes for Lida, her mother replied, "I want her to have higher education because those who are well-educated get good jobs. For example, the relatives on my husband's side, they are all well-educated and now they are school principals, teachers, working for NGO etc., while my older children, who have no education, are doing seasonal labor work."

 

We are so happy to have this crucial program up and running once again and to see first hand girls like Lida riding towards their dreams. Thank you so much for your generous support for this project. 

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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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Organization Information

Lotus Outreach

Location: Ojai, California - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @lotusoutreach
Project Leader:
Alexandra Land
Ojai, CA United States
$90,304 raised of $90,000 goal
 
1,334 donations
$0 to go
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