Due to the vulnerabilities of rape and sex trafficking most parents prefer to keep their girls home rather than subject them to the dangers of getting to school. As a result only 11% of girls in Cambodia reach secondary school. In 2013 the Lotus Pedals program was launched to provide bikes to young Cambodian girls. The program is slowly making a positive impact in increasing the number of girls going to school.
According to Erika Keaveney, executive director of Lotus Outreach International, the San Francisco charity that runs the program, “Lotus Pedals is a simple intervention but a terrifically effective one.”
The charity spends $80 to provide each bike, counting the costs for transport and delivery, a repair kit, and a pump, along with project management and follow-up.
In 2013 Lotus Outreach ensured that 302 young riders got to school. The program has identified 381 additional students who may qualify to receive a bicycle. There remain thousands of girls across the country want to attend school but have no means of transportation.
Beyond the bike initiatives Lotus International serves over 30,000 women and children mainly in Cambodia and India through initiatives on education, health, anti-trafficking and economic empowerment. To learn more about the work of Lotus International and to find out how to support their Lotus Pedals bicycle initiative visit http://www.lotusoutreach.org