In Cambodia we have three areas of work:
GIRLS’ ACCESS TO EDUCATION (GATE)
Provides educational scholarships to over 600 at-risk young girls in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey.
Cambodian girls are disproportionately at-risk of being denied a primary education by virtue of some seemingly intractable reasons. In Cambodia, primary school is free but it is not compulsory. The unofficial costs of education such as supplies, transportation added with the demands for additional payment by teachers frequently make it impossible for Cambodian families to afford their children's schooling - girls generally being the first withdrawn. Because of widespread poverty, many children are taken out of school by their families and put to work. Although the income generated by their children helps ease immediate economic hardship, the longer term consequences are often devastating: it is a recognized fact that low levels of education make these children much more likely to be trafficked or fall victim to the brutal commercial sex trade.
With these facts in mind, Lotus Outreach is supporting the education of more than 600 girls in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Banteay Meanchey.
We provide scholarships to girls who are at-risk or survivors of violence in order to keep them enrolled in school and attending through the third year of high school, and further if possible. These scholarships not only cover the indirect costs of education such as materials, uniforms, and transportation, but also ensure the poorest families have enough rice to eat so the girls will not be taken out of school and put back to work. In addition, some of the girls qualify for residential placement in protective housing. GATE also features a community-based participatory process of building Child Protection Networks. Through engaging community volunteers and building culturally-relevant prevention programs, GATE is able to further stem the tide of human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Partner: Cambodian Women's Crisis Center
Supported by: The Material World Charitable Foundation • Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation • Angus Lawson Memorial Trust • Buddhist Global Relief • Lotus Outreach Society Canada • Lotus Outreach United Kingdom • Lotus Outreach Australia
Provides GATE graduates with scholarship support so they can continue their studies at the tertiary level.
In 2010, Lotus Outreach International celebrated our first graduating class from the Girls’ Access to Education (GATE) program. Of our 62 graduates from GATE in Banteay Meanchey, an astonishing 70% of them were accepted into tertiary education programs, primarily at the university level. This unprecedented and groundbreaking outcome led to the establishment of CATALYST – the GATE Women and Youth Scholarship Fund. The CATALYST program carries on the fledgling tradition of GATE in order to see through our long-term investment and help rebuild the intellectual class that was completely decimated by the Khmer Rouge only a short generation ago.
It is a tragedy that less than 2% of women in Cambodia possess education beyond high school, and Lotus Outreach is deeply committed to reversing that statistic.
Since 2010, six groups of GATE graduates have joined the CATALYST program. In 2013, we celebrated the first class of CATALYST college graduates. For the past three years we have watched over 200 young women finish their tertiary studies. Nearly all of the graduates find employment in areas related to their degree.
A full scholarship (covering tuition, food, residence, utilities, additional class fees, and daily allowance) costs approximately $1,200 per girl, per year.
Partner: Lotus Outreach Cambodia • Cambodian Women's Crisis Center
Supported by: Buddhist Global Relief • Lotus Outreach Society Canada • GlobalGiving Foundation
Provides heavy terrain bicycles to rural Cambodian girls that would not otherwise be able to traverse the considerable distance to the nearest school.
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: Lotus Outreach Cambodia • 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