The Girls Access to Education (GATE) program in Phnom Penh district is the prime responsibility of Lotus Outreach Australia. This program currently helps 100 – 150 Cambodian girls from very poor families to get an education.
In addition to providing scholarships, uniforms, school books etc the girls receive health checks, and the Rice Support Program provides rice to the very poorest families. This encourages parents to allow their daughters to stay at school instead of having them go out to work to supply family income.
How the girls are chosen
Lotus Outreach Australia works alongside our In-Country partner Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre (CWCC) who in turn work with Local Education Working Groups to identify girls most at risk in our target communities and help keep them in school. Both monitoring and regularly meeting with students and their families means that the girls attend school consistently and achieve their grades.
Working with the Community
We underpin this by helping to run Community Education Sessions on Human Rights issues: the value to families, communities and the country of educating girls: and the consequences of trafficking, domestic violence, and child rights.
Real, positive outcomes
GATE girls whose families are illiterate are becoming the first high school graduates in their families. Mothers are coming forward to tell us how important schooling is for their daughters. Many of the girls are starting to see themselves in a new light – focusing on graduating, going on to further education and a good job, and in turn making sure that their future children will be educated and independent too.