Lotus Pedals - Help Cambodian Girls Get to School!

 
$60,170 $19,830
Raised Remaining
Biking the long road to school in rural Cambodia
Biking the long road to school in rural Cambodia

With your generous support, 364 impoverished girls in rural Cambodia received new bicycles, pumps and locks in 2012, clearing the single greatest obstacle to their continued education. In this update, we will offer you an inside look at how the project picks beneficiaries and monitors their progress.

Because demand for the bicycles far exceeds supply, Lotus Pedals has established the following selection criteria to ensure the bikes reach those most in need. In addition to requiring that girls live at least 1.5 kilometers from the nearest school, priority is given to:

  • Girls who have recently dropped out of school
  • Victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse
  • Girls from poor, landless families with many children
  • Girls in single parent households, or in households with one or more disabled parent
  • Orphans
  • Girls not receiving education support from other NGOs
  • Girls whose families express a commitment to education

To ensure the long-term impact of the bicycle, recipients and their families also sign a contract pledging to do the following:

  • Maintain the bicycle and repair it when it breaks
  • Not to sell or pawn the bicycle
  • Parents or guardians are not allowed to use the bicycle during school hours
  • Return the bicycle if the girl drops out of school within two years
  • Girls agree to maintain academic integrity, school attendance and marks of at least 50%

Lotus Pedals bicycles are delivered in partnership with several well-established indigenous NGOs throughout Cambodia, including in the provinces of Mondulkiri, Banteay Meanchey, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Pursat and Svay Rieng. Because our partners are already operating programs in the target villages, the project has a built-in network for monitoring progress, and our partners agree to track the progress of the girls for a minimum of two years. This model allows us to devote 100% of every dollar you contribute directly toward the purchase of bicycles, while still maintaining our capacity to track project performance.

We thank you again for your contribution, and look forward to keeping you posted on the girls’ academic success in the months and years ahead. We also invite you to consider supporting the education of other girls by making another donation at http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/lotuspedals/ (and encouraging your friends on Facebook to do the same!).

"Aw kun" from me to you
"Aw kun" from me to you
Bicycle giveaway ceremony
Bicycle giveaway ceremony

Links:

Bicycle giveaway ceremony
Bicycle giveaway ceremony

As a result of your generous support, 107 impoverished young girls in the Russey Keo district of Phnom Penh, Cambodia received refurbished bicycles and repair kits this month, allowing them to celebrate Back to School season in style.

In rural Cambodia, the road to school is long and full of hazards.  In addition to the time and opportunity costs of traversing lengthy distances to school by foot, rural Cambodian girls face a high incidence of sexual violence in their communities, and walking alone increases their risk.  By supplying heavy-terrain bicycles to the poorest girls living over one mile from the nearest schoolhouse, Lotus Pedals is helping hundreds of adolescent Cambodian girls safely return to school.

The giveaway ceremony, held at Bun Rany Hun Sen Koh Dach High School on October 8, was attended by nearly 1,000 people, including the district officer, commune council, village chief, school director, teachers, local authorities and 700 school children and parents. Speaking to the crowd, the Deputy Governor stressed that a bicycle means a lot to poor family that would otherwise have to save for a very long time in order to afford a bike for their daughter. Student council representatives also declared that with a bike, the girls can now come to school both regularly and on time. Recipients thanked the donors and promised to study hard and take good care of their new bikes.

Susan B. Anthony once said "I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.  It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can't get into harm unless she gets off her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood."

These words – spoken by a 19th century American feminist – could not be truer in present-day rural Cambodia, where – for a young woman – a bicycle can mean the difference between reaching her full potential and a life of oppression.  We offer our deepest gratitude to each and every one of you for entrusting us to help these young Cambodian girls get back to school, and for investing in the healing of a nation.

One of the 107 poor girls that received bikes
One of the 107 poor girls that received bikes
"Thanks for helping me stay in school!"
"Thanks for helping me stay in school!"
New Lotus Pedalers :)
New Lotus Pedalers :)

Links:

Chea tries out her new bike and pump
Chea tries out her new bike and pump

On July 12, Lotus Pedals delivered brand new bicycles and pumps to five promising young women enrolled in our Girls’ Access to Education (GATE) scholarship program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to ensure they could get to school safely.

In urban environments like Phnom Penh, girls often face harassment and abuse while walking to school alone, and their risk increases as they reach adolescence, both as a result of their age and the longer commute to secondary school.

We interviewed one of the new Lotus Pedals recipients, Chea Daraty, who describes the danger she faced before receiving the bicycle.  Watch her short interview by clicking the link below.

Thank you again for helping us pave a way to school for hundreds of Cambodian girls each year.  To learn more about this project or pledge additional support, please visit http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/lotuspedals/

Happy girls!
Happy girls!

Links:

A very focused young woman!
A very focused young woman!

Since last October when Sim Soline began her upper secondary studies, she has walked four kilometers to her new high school. Sometimes she was able to ride along on the back of a friend’s bike or pay a moto-taxi to bridge the distance – whatever it took to make it to class. Her attendance is near perfect, making this 10th grader an excellent role model for her six younger siblings, all of whom are still in school.

Inspired by the earnest ambition of this 17 year old, and conscious of her influence over six younger children looking up to her, we wanted to give Soline as much support to complete high school as we possibly could. She is already one of our GATE scholars, but we also made her one of 63 girls who received a bike through our Lotus Pedals project this March.

We can do this because of YOU! Your continued support makes all the difference for students ready to go the extra mile to succeed, and for the kids who look up to them. Thank you!

Soline next to her hut in Andong village
Soline next to her hut in Andong village
GATE girls at the March 12 bike ceremony
GATE girls at the March 12 bike ceremony
Lotus Pedals recipients with bike
Lotus Pedals recipients with bike

Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners' projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her "Postcard" from the visit in Cambodia:

On March 14, Alexis and I visited Louts Outreach's recipients of the Lotus Pedals project. The recipients were 2 young girls who received a bike from the Lotus Pedals program. Before they had the bikes, these girls would have to walk an hour just to get to school. Now the bikes cut the time in half, and they have more time to study in between school and work. Where do they work? The rubbish heaps nearby to earn extra income for the family. They pick things like plastic bottles and items that can be sold to recycling plants. The average income is $1.25USD per day picking rubbish. T

he Louts Pedals project goal is to not only provide bicycles to young girls but to increase awareness about the importance of education for the family as a whole. Lotus Outreach works with families and the schools, before enrolling in the schools Lotus Outreach staff meets with parents to identify needs and challenges for the kids to get to school. Lotus Outreach also helps to decrease the gender gap between girls and boys.

I asked one of the sister recipients what her favorite subject in school was and she said science because she loves the environment. The other said her favorite was social studies and Khmer traditional dancing class. The father said he hoped for the future of his kids involved getting a good job and to stay in school as long as they could afford it. I turned to the girls and asked what they wanted to be when they grew up - one said a primary school teacher and the other a doctor.

Links:

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Organization

Lotus Outreach

Aptos, California, United States
http://www.lotusoutreach.org

Project Leader

Elise De Grande

Executive Director
Sacramento, CA United States

Where is this project located?

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