Tae, the Lotus Pedals recipient.
Our Lotus Pedals program follows up with beneficiaries through home visits. Below is a story about young women named Tae. Tae, despite life obstacles, remains committed to her education and a brighter future.
Tae is 17 and currently the seventh grade. She started school when she was nine years old. Tae lives with he brother and her sister-in-law. During a recent visit, Tae’s sister-in-law, Narain, stated that “Tae was very tiny as a child so her parents didn’t enroll her till she became big enough.”
In 5th grade, Tae’s mother passed away. This was very difficult for her family and consequently she missed so much school that she had to repeat the 5th grade. Not much later she was orphaned. Her father re-married and left town her younger brother, leaving Tae on her own. Fortunately, Tae was able to live with her older brother and his wife where she has remained these past 8 years.
Tae’s brother is a construction worker in Phnom Penh. He comes home every few weeks bringing some $50 or so to support them. They have no other means of support as Narain is taking care of a new child. During the visit, Narain reflected on her own experience of education, “My parents were very poor I was forced to leave school when in grade nine. That was a great disappointment to me then and I continue to feel very disappointed with my life. I don’t want that to happen to Tae so I don’t ask her to do any work that will interrupt her studies. I will do whatever I can to keep my own children in school as long as possible.”
Two years back Tae received a bike from Lotus Pedals which after much use is completely worn out and unusable by now. Further, she is now in lower secondary school about three kilometres from home and it takes her about thirty minutes to get there.
Tae would not be able to remain in school without external assistance so she has received a scholarship that has provided her with a school uniform, study materials, and a small monthly stipend. She cannot afford extra tuition. “Other children pay for tuition and are doing better than me. I have asked my older brother to support my tuition but we cannot afford it right now. I am able to keep myself around 14th of 50 in my class at the moment. My favorite subject is Khmer literature and I want to become a primary school teacher.
Narain is a fierce advocate for Tae’s continued study so in that sense Tae is very lucky. For now we have left her with a brand new bike to make it that much easier for her to get off to school every day.
Thank you for supporting students like Tae!
Tae with her sister in law, Narain.
Tae with her brother's family.
Tae with her bike!