Dear Community,On October 11th, join LO in celebrating International Day of the Girl. For the next month we’ll be celebrating the power that young women have to influence change in their societies. While women and girls have historically been excluded from resources and spaces that support their leadership, education lays the foundation for vibrant lives and empowered futures.
Stand with Lotus Outreach beneficiaries and changemakers this International Day of the Girl.
Stay tuned for more ways the LO Community is celebrating International Day of the Girl!
We are thrilled that on August 14th Aloka McLean is hosting a bike ride for 1,000 Coffee in collaboration with Lotus Outreach Society Canada in Vancouver! She is inspired that the event promotes supporting at-risk girls’ education in India and Cambodia through a simple monthly coffee sacrifice, one coffee at a time.
The first LOSC Vancouver ride will be held on Saturday, August 14th with a small group of LO community and friends. They are taking a scenic beachside route around False Creek in the heart of Vancouver. It is a loop that will take about 45 minutes and is 10 km. The ride begins and ends at Vanier Park and will be followed by a group picnic. If you are interested in joining their ride you can RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share the details of where to meet!
Thank you for supporting at-risk girls access to education by making a monthly commitment to Lotus Outreach. We are so appreciative of the dedicated energy and generosity of those inspired by LO’s mission to serve the most vulnerable women and girls.
The 1,000 Bikes Campaign raised more than $75,000 and was led by LO Ambassadors who hosted bike rides and community events around the world inspired by the bravery of young women who challenge harmful gender narratives to pursue their dreams of education, empowerment and sustainable change at home. 1,000 Bikes was initially conceived to meet our goal of providing 1,000 bikes for access to education for our beneficiaries but it’s immense success led us to dedicate the funds raised from events to access to education programs and scholarships for the girls that LO supports.
We are delighted to introduce you to 1,000 Coffee which is the next iteration of this amazing worldwide community event. We invite you to join us! Spread the word, make a monthly gift, or host a ride! Learn More.
At LO a $75 gift can supply a girl with a bike, a pump, a lock, tools and requires the students’ guardians to sign a contract that states they will keep their child in school for at least two years. $250 can ensure she has a seat on a bus to school in one of the most regressive areas in terms of girls education in all of India. $550 ensures a scholarship for a junior high or high school girl from some of the most rural and poor regions of Cambodia. $2,500 can ensure she receives year-long university scholarship and mentorship in Cambodia or a $10,000 gift supports a four year university scholarship.
Happy Earth Day! We are grateful that we can come together during this challenging time in our world to create meaningful change. Ensuring access to education not only transforms lives and communities, an investment in girls’ education is a generosity to our planet. Educating girls is considered the 6th most powerful solution to reverse global warming. Inspired by the power of the bicycle to provide LO Scholarship beneficiaries access to education, LO Ambassadors are hosting bike rides in over ten countries for our 1000 Coffee event throughout 2021.
We are excited to update you on Rob’s 1,000 km bike ride from Lithgow to Bairnsdale in Australia! Rob’s ride is the first of our 1000 Coffee events planned for this year. It’s Day 4 of his ride and he’s riding an average of 75 km a day through the Blue Mountains south-west of Sydney for 1000 Coffee. Thank you, Rob!
We hope to build a community dedicated to monthly giving at Lotus Outreach. Monthly commitments contribute to a Scholarship Fund that ensures our beneficiaries a reliable stream of long-term support through year after year of their education. With a sacrifice of a few coffees each month, we can collectively invest in our planet and a future we believe in.
We are grateful to our ambassadors around the world who are bringing community together in celebration of LO beneficiaries. The SECOND RIDE: Biking the Berlin Wall in Bloom starts tomorrow!
The covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on education around the world, it is the largest interruption of schooling in history with 1.5 billion students out of school across 190 countries.
The missions of our EQU+ and Buddha Smiles programs were well aligned during the pandemic, ensuring, against all odds, that students continued to stay engaged in their education. Students enrolled in these programs are children of largely illiterate laborers, often first generation learners, who without support would likely not progress past primary school. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the need for support and encouragement to stay in school even more urgent and these marginalized communities are at the highest risk of dropping out after a disruption like this one.
Lotus Outreach’s ongoing efforts are ensuring the wellbeing of thousands of children living in poverty across the country. Our continued support before, during, and after the pandemic is imperative.
A message from our founder and Chairman of Lotus Outreach Society Canada Khyentse Norbu. “We should rejoice that Lotus Outreach has protected literally thousands of girls from the poorest families through its education and professional skills training programs”.
Empowerment is the heart of Sustainable change. Lotus Outreach Society Canada, in partnership with Lotus Outreach International, empowers women and children living in poverty through access to education, training and care.
Your donations have supported the education and empowerment of young, vulnerable women in Cambodia and in India. These young girls live in rural areas where little opportunity for education or protection from sexual and physical abuse has been available.
In 2019, donors such as you supported crucial work with the Cambodia Women’s Crisis Centre, The Kampuchean Action to Promote Education, and Lotus Outreach Cambodia, which provide services directly under the umbrella of Lotus Outreach International.
The Cambodian Women's Crisis Centre empowers vulnerable women and girls through counselling. This year, your dollars helped facilitate physical and psychological healing.
The Kampuchean Action to Promote Education (KAPE) is a well-established local NGO with a portfolio of 14 on-going projects across Cambodia that seek to develop the capacity of schools and communities to fulfill the right of every child to have a good quality and effective education
Lotus Outreach Cambodia is an umbrella organization for local affiliates that support simple solutions to eradicating barriers to girls' education. For example, the Blossom Bus provides safe transportation to and from school.
While much has been accomplished, our work needs to continue. Human trafficking and the sex trade continue to expand. Women and young girls are at critical risk due to lack of education, social status and protection. Your contribution this year will sustain and foster the work of local NGOs in partnership with Lotus Outreach Society Canada
Please go to https://lotusoutreach.org/ for an overview, and for first-hand accounts of the vital work that Lotus Outreach International supports.
You may donate online at our website hhttps://lotusoutreachsocietycanada.ca/donation.html
or you may send a check to Lotus Outreach Society by downloading a donation form from our website. Canadian tax receipts are available. Thank you for your help and commitment.
Julie Chender, President
Lotus Outreach Society Canada
This year Lotus Outreach International is celebrating 25 years of service. Although I am supposedly its chair, I have to say at the start that all the achievements and successes of Lotus Outreach are entirely due to the outstanding work of our volunteers and donors. Still, I am moved on this 25th anniversary to tell you a bit of our history – where we started and where we’ve come.
What began as a small project aiding Tibetan refugees in 1993 has expanded to be an international organization with affiliates in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia dedicated to helping some of the most forgotten, neglected, and suffering groups on this earth. Lotus Outreach believes that real change starts in the hearts and minds of individuals. Through transforming individuals, Lotus Outreach programs transform communities in ways that will reverberate for generations.
Working with local partners means Lotus Outreach can reach the most remote areas of north and south India, and many provinces across Cambodia. Here’s a few examples:
In Haryana, India, we have seen real change in the education sector, and in the increased willingness of parents to send girls to school. Lotus Outreach is now recognized nationally and internationally for its work in the fight against gender discrimination. Girls who never had the opportunity are now going to school.
In Mewat, Haryana, and in Rajasthan, for example, Lotus Outreach provides daily, safe transportation to girls and women who could otherwise not go to school. Without this safe transport, these girls would face early marriages, and rigid social restrictions. After many years of riding our bus, many young women are at the university level, and even pursuing masters degrees.
In Rajasthan, Lotus Outreach also trains health workers and teaches good nutrition practices to prenatal and postnatal mothers who know too well the devastating fact that one third of all the world’s malnourished children live in India. In Tamil Nadu, Lotus Outreach tutors the lowest caste child laborers so that they can stay in school instead of being forced to work in dire conditions.
Two thirds of Cambodian children receive only an elementary school education. So, young, poorly educated girls of families living in poverty are highly vulnerable to trafficking and many forms of exploitation.
Keeping this in mind, it’s heartwarming to reflect that we have provided post abuse counseling to more than 1000 victims of trafficking and sexual abuse since 2005, especially as most of them were children.
We should rejoice that Lotus Outreach has protected literally thousands of girls from the poorest families through its education and professional skills training programs.
The education, counseling and rehabilitation Lotus Outreach provides across Cambodia, transforms the lives of young girls and women who otherwise face lives in brothels, beer gardens, massage parlours, or working their entire lives in the fields.
These bright young women return to their communities with a passion to improve them. Because 90% of these young women’s earnings go towards their families and communities, Lotus Outreach’s investment in their education, health, and wellbeing nourishes sustainable wellbeing in their communities. When you educate girls, communities thrive.
In both India and Cambodia, students served by Lotus Outreach projects are getting education they would never have dreamed possible. And at the most practical level, Lotus Outreach’s Wells Project in Cambodia provides access to clean drinking water so villagers no longer have to walk long distances to get murky, disease-bearing water. They now have clear water at their doorstep and can bathe, shower, and drink without concern. In all these ways, Lotus Outreach changes people’s lives and social conditions.
I have worked closely with our Lotus Outreach volunteers working in both India and Cambodia and visited Lotus Outreach programs there and plan to do so again soon. In this age of confusion and aggression, it is inspiring that that we can do at least something to relieve at least some of the world’s suffering.
Again, I especially want to thank Lotus Outreach’s volunteers whose dedication minimizes administration costs and enables donations to go fully towards the actual projects on the ground. And I particularly want to thank the donors for their ongoing support that has made 25 years of creative, strategic, and thoughtful work possible.
I want to take this 25th anniversary opportunity to aspire for Lotus Outreach’s continued success to serve the needs of present and future generations.
Gender-based violence is prevalent throughout Cambodia. Widespread rape is a reality that many Cambodian women must confront and often without emotional, psychological or legal support. Our program, Counseling and Reintegration, executed by our local partner CWCC, serves to counsel and reintegrate survivors in addition to raising social awareness regarding such gender-based violence in order prevent further assaults.
The following story demonstrates the beneficial work this program can accomplish with your further support!
Nai Lee* aged 14 from Banteay Meanchey, often had to stay with her mother’s cousin at the border area, because her mother worked as a laborer along the Cambodian-Thailand border. During one stay, a strange man Lee did not know sexually raped her. Although Lee did not tell her mother after the rape, Lee did tell a neighbor who soon after told her mother.
Hearing about the incident, Lee’s mother skipped work and immediately took Lee to the police station to file out a complaint to pursue the rapist. Lee’s case was then taken to Banteay Meanchey provincial police station for legal proceedings. Through interviews, the crime division was able to identify the suspect and later arrest the man.
Lee was referred by the crime division to stay at CWCC’s safe shelter and receive program services. Although Lee received good medical care by the shelter staff including accommodation, meals and clothing, she suffered deep mental fear. Lee still hated men. She could not relax. She spoke in a very loud voice when meeting with the counselors and the shelter staff. She had arguments with other clients in the shelter as well.
Our team supported Lee through this difficult period and provided her with individual and group counseling sessions. She also underwent art therapy techniques such as drawing and painting. Lee was excited about such art therapy and ultimately reduced arguments with other clients, while our staff witnessed significant improvements in her mental health.
After this period of counseling, the CWCC’s reintegration team met her to discuss her plan to return to her regular life based on her request to reunite with her family. Through family and community assessment, the CWCC’s reintegration team supported Lee with a life start-up grant including sleeping and kitchen materials, groceries, and a stipend from funding provided by Lotus Outreach.
In return, Lee’s mother stated: “I am happy for the quick actions by authorities and CWCC’s support… my daughter's case has gone through the legal process and the perpetrator was arrested and is being prosecuted for his crime.”
Since this statement, Lee’s perpetrator has been sentenced to 7 years in jail and Lee was awarded financial compensation. In addition, CWCC’s reintegration team has been conducting ongoing visits to see Lee’s progress and to provide ongoing counseling and support as needed. Although Lee has not fully healed up till this point and still faces significant distress, this program has allowed Lee to make huge strides in her healing process and also in reintegrating her back into her regular life.
Support Lotus Outreach and our partner, CWCC, to help so many other girls like Lee that are in profound need of such important aid!*Nai Lee’s name has been changed to protect her identity
The GATE and GATEways objective is to enhance the life options of at-risk girls and their families and to reduce their vulnerability to violence and trafficking. The GATE program currently provides primary and secondary educational scholarships and holistic support to 422 girls in Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh provinces. This past year 87 GATEways scholars were supported by Lotus Outreach and Cambodian Women’s Crises Center (CWCC) which was made possible through the support of donors like you. The following is Sima's story, a driven scholar that has been supported by both the GATE and GATEways program.
Sima, who is currently twenty-three, joined the GATE program in tenth grade. Sima states, “My family situation was such that going from grade sixth to grade seventh my parents wanted me to drop school and I did not attend school in the 2nd semester. Being very young at that time I had to follow my parents, and although the CWCC were looking for scholarship girls, my parents did not hear about it.”
When Sima was in ninth grade her parents were again putting pressure on her to drop out of school due to family poverty. Once the school principle found out she immediately approached Sima’s parents and let them know that she Sima could receive a GATE scholarship if they kept her in school.
While Sima was receiving her GATE scholarship, she was determined to make a positive change for all of the GATE scholars. It is importantly noted that when Sima sees room for improvement, she lets people know! Sima was the first student to request rice support which inevitably became part of the GATE program. Sima also requested that stipends be distributed in the beginning of the month rather than middle, to make paying rent and purchasing food easier. Sima has shown signs of her forward thinking since high school!
Sima said, “I was the special case in 2010 and while two other girls didn’t get the funds until later, I got my stipend every month.” Sima reflects on her past, “In grade 11 I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. One of my friends told me she wanted to be a lawyer and we were one and two in the class. We were very competitive. We also ended up studying in the same university and we were always competing, she even did the French degree as well.”
Upon her graduation a few years later she received a scholarship at the Royal University of Law and Economics. After graduating from University with a double degree in Law and French with the support of GATEways, Sima received a scholarship to peruse her Masters degree in Law. Although this was a great opportunity, Sima’s family requested that she take a few years off of school because they needed her to work to help make ends meet.
In July 2014, Sima started at working for ADHOC(The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association). Since then, her salary has increased impressively and she is now sending more than half of her salary home to her family. Some of the money that she is sending home is supporting one of her sisters in school.
Sima speaks about her recent job experience, “First I was working for enfant du Mekong as a social worker, not really the job I wanted. Then I saw there was a job available at ADHOC. The job is teaching Law to the community and I really love that. It was especially interesting to me as it is helpful to the community to teach them about rights. Sometimes I advise them on how to approach the court – domestic violence/gender/women’s rights/marriage – right age and not forced – marriage certificate – many of them don’t therefore have marriage certificate / rape.”
“70% of the rape cases I have put forward have been processed in the court and I do the follow-up to ensure case are being taken up or issue a legal position to push the process and ensure the case is going through the court toward a verdict,” Sima says proudly(rightfully so!).
Sima plans to go back to school to earn her Masters in Law after a few years of working. We are encouraging her because of the great work we know she will do and the many lives that she will impact.
Imagine, even the fact we are interviewing Mary at the RUPP in this college exclusive to 1% of the population. Mary comes from a family of illiterate parents to 10 children trying to live off earnings from a small plot of land that was further reduced in size and earning capacity in order to pay medical expensesfor their 2nd child, a boy. The family resources were further reduced when the oldest son left for Thailand, took a wife of his own and we assume, began fending for his own family. It is certain that only an external and multifaceted intervention of the GATE, GATEways and STREAM programs taking her from Grade 9 through HS graduation to complete her University degree.
22 year old Namthorng Thom from Banteay Meanchey Province entered LO’s GATE (Girls’ Access to Education program) as poorest of the poor high school girl before entering tertiary training, again under support from LO’s, STREAM (Skill -Training, Education Matching) program, and is now a highly sought after computer systems network administrator working in Phnom Penh.