News / Asia

Attacking Poverty in Cambodia and India With Education And Bicycles

Les Carpenter

At a time when many school systems begin classes around the world, many poor children in some parts of the world may be staying home for any number of reasons.  One, it seems, is a lack of transportation to get the children to a school that may not be near their homes.  That's where a project called "Lotus Pedals" steps in in Cambodia. It is a program administered by Lotus Outreach International that, among other things, provides sturdy bicycles to a group of poor children so they can travel to their school.   

Public secondary schools are few and some are a considerable distance from the students in Cambodia and India and Lotus Outreach says that is usually the greatest hurdle for children to continue their education.  Spokesman for the program, Glenn Fawcett, Executive Director of Field Operations says there are usually more primary schools than secondary schools in some of these poor regions.  So, he says, "when a student finishes sixth grade, they may find themselves faced with a trip of  2, 6, 8, 10, 30, 40 kilometers away from the nearest secondary school."

Mr. Fawcett adds that most parents don't have the resources to send their children those distances to school. The San Diego, California based Lotus Outreach International has scholarship programs "in a number of provinces right across Cambodia with 761 girls already in these programs."  Those girls get bicycles to help them get to and stay in school, among other benefits of the scholarship programs.  Mr. Fawcett says his organization concentrates on girls because girls are "far and away getting less educational opportunities than boys" in these regions.

Fawcett says the situation in India is very similar to that in Cambodia, but has additional problems, including a dropout rate of about 50 percent.  He says the key to poverty reduction is just getting a basic education.  That's why, he says, that in the most rural areas of India Lotus Outreach is working on "mobilizing communities and pushing the education authorities to provide the basic amenities for schools, such as toilets."  

Secondary schools in India are, as in Cambodia, sometimes a long way from communities forcing families to keep their children at home.  "In India," he says, "it's worse than in Cambodia because of the very traditional families will not send their girls out of their sight."  In a Muslim district in India, Lotus Outreach has begun "the Blossom Bus", in which a parent chaperone rides the bus to deliver village girls to school each day, one way around the reluctance of parents to allow their girls to attend schools.

Why concentrate on educating girls?  Mr. Fawcett says there are several studies that show that girls who continue their education will not only have an enhanced salary capacity, but are more likely to invest that income back into their own community.  So, educating girls is a greater community resource and becomes a very powerful and strong thing.  That, says Glenn Fawcett, is what educators call the "girl effect".

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid