Today only 2% of women in Cambodia have a college education.

When the Khmer Rouge overtook Cambodia in 1975, it abolished currency and the banking system, shut down the public education system, evacuated urban centers and forced the entire population into the countryside to dig irrigation canals and till land. The Khmer Rouge eliminated all remnants of “old society” through deadly purges of the intellectual class. In just four short years, the entire country’s educated class was systematically murdered and thrown into mass graves—including 90% of the countries teachers.

The legacy of poverty left by the Khmer Rouge genocide means the very people who promise to help Cambodia develop—its future doctors, lawyers, bankers, and businesspeople—are unable to reach their potential for want of a few dollars each month in school-related expenses. 

Since 2010, Lotus Outreach International has been working to rebuild Cambodia's intellectual force by providing scholarships to poor young women from the Cambodian countryside. 

Every year, dozens of girls graduate high school as a result of the GATE scholarship program (Girls’ Access to Education). Many of the GATE girls express a desire to give back to their communities through studying to become nurses, midwives, lawyers, teachers, economists, agronomists, and NGO workers. Partner with them to open the doors to higher education!


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"When I was sick, you cared for me. When my bicycle broke, you helped me fix it. You educated me and offered me every opportunity you could. You have been like my parents, and I will not be satisfied until I have been able to repay your generosity by helping others!"

Soven Mealea

The Shining Stars of GATEways

GATEways scholars Sima (right) and Srey Mom

GATEways scholars Sima (right) and Srey Mom

The story of 19 year-old Man Sima, valedictorian of her class in 2010, not only highlights the impact of GATE on the individual girls and their families, but showcases the “multiplier effect” of investing in the higher education of girls and women. 

GATE literally changed Sima’s life. Applying for GATE support was a last desperate effort to remain in Cambodia—at her parent’s urging, she was planning to follow several cousins who had migrated to Malaysia for work. “If I had never gotten support from GATE, I would be in prison in Malaysia now,” says Sima. “My cousins who have been working there went to prison where they were beaten with electrical wire because they didn’t have visas. Now they are not only paying off the debt they incurred to travel there, but have to pay off the bail agent too.” 

Instead, as a result of the GATE support package, Sima stayed in school, graduated at the top of her class and was accepted into the University of Law and Economics in Phnom Penh, where she is studying law with a scholarship from our GATEways program. Sima now possesses a working command of both French and English, and achieved a 4.0 GPA during her freshman year. Perhaps most inspiring is Sima’s dream of paying her good fortune forward: “I want to get a good job as a lawyer so I can contribute to helping the younger generation financially and spiritually.”


It costs just $1,200 a year to fully support the university education of a girl like Sima, bringing her family, community, and nation one step closer to healing from the scars of the past.


What Does $1,200 cover?




Class Registration Fees




English Class




Housing & Utilities


Computer Courses

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Sponsor A Degree Now

For more information, contact us at 888.831.9990 or info@lotusoutreach.org