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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid