Even compared with other developing nations, Cambodia lags in the realm of girls’ education: whereas 43 percent of girls in the developing world attend secondary school, only 11 percent of Cambodian girls do. In the communities where Lotus Outreach operates, the road to school is long and full of hazards. By supplying all-terrain bicycles to the poorest girls living a minimum of one mile from their nearest public school, Lotus Pedals has become a powerful component to our education programs.
The young women in our Girls’ Access to Education, Non-Formal Education and Integrated Rural Development programs are among the most dispossessed on the planet. They are undervalued and discriminated against by their society and prime targets for abuse and sex trafficking. All too often, these girls are forced to choose between eating and paying for a taxi to attend classes. For many, their time is better spent working than traveling several kilometers to school on foot.
Given a bicycle, these tough decisions disappear. Lotus Pedals has already changed the lives of hundreds of girls by supplying safe, reliable transportation. By staying in school, their achievements far exceed those of formal lessons: they gain confidence, access to academic communities and the respect of their families and neighbors.
Many children in destitute areas share rides, boosting the reach of the program. A few hundred bicycles result in many more deserving girls in classrooms across Cambodia. Moreover, Lotus Pedals beneficiaries tend to view the new avenues available to them as leading back to their home communities: they are charting a course to become doctors, teachers, and non-profit leaders in their own villages.
Partners: Cambodian Women's Crisis Center (CWCC), Khemara, Cambodian Organization for Children and Development (COCD), Kampuchean Action for Primary Education (KAPE)
Supported by: Impact Giving, GlobalGiving Foundation, Soroptomist International of Vista, CA