GIRLS' ACCESS TO EDUCATION (GATE)
Cambodian girls are disproportionately at-risk of being denied a primary education by virtue of some seemingly intractable reasons. In Cambodia, school is technically free but not compulsory. The unofficial costs of education such as supplies, transportation and teacher demands for additional payment frequently make it impossible for Cambodian families to afford to keep their children in school—with girls generally being the first withdrawn. Because of widespread poverty, many children are taken out of school by their families and put to work. Though the income generated by working children helps ease immediate economic hardship, the longer term consequences are often devastating: it is a recognized fact that low levels of education make these children much more likely to be trafficked or fall victim to the brutal commercial sex trade.
With these facts in mind, Lotus Outreach is supporting the education of more than 600 girls in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Banteay Meanchey. We provide scholarships to girls who are at-risk or survivors of violence in order to keep them enrolled in school and attending through the third year of high school, and further if possible. These scholarships not only cover the indirect costs of education such as materials, uniforms, and transportation, but ensure the poorest families have enough rice to eat so the girls will not be taken out of school and put back to work. In addition, some of the girls qualify for residential placement in protective housing. GATE also features a community-based participatory process of building Child Protection Networks. Through engaging community volunteers and building culturally-relevant prevention programs, GATE is able to further stem the tide of human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Partner: Cambodian Women's Crisis Center
Supported by: The Material World Charitable Foundation, Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation, Angus Lawson Memorial Trust, Buddhist Global Relief, The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, IPA Foundation, Lotus Outreach Society Canada, Lotus Outreach United Kingdom and Lotus Outreach Australia.