BEL Rotary members off to Cambodia for Wheels for Learning
by Ben Clarke
BEL Rotary is preparing for a mission that could change lives.
In February 2014, BEL Rotary members Tony and Susan Davidson and Girv and Cheryl Devitt will have the opportunity to travel to Cambodia as part of a humanitarian project to distribute bicycles to school age children.
Many of these children walk 10 kilometres or more one way to attend school, which results in many being unable to attend.
BEL Rotary will be one of nine clubs in the area that will travel to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and spend three weeks distributing bicycles to needy students in rural areas of the country.
“I heard about the opportunity and it’s something that I’m passionate about,” says Susan Davidson.
“These kids walk eight to 10 kilometres a day so it’s just a great opportunity to help them further their education.”
The teams have a current goal to distribute 800 bicycles in nine target locations – but are happy to provide more if donations pour in.
Each bicycle costs $50 and a tax receipt and picture of the child receiving the bike will be issued.
“The bikes are built in Japan and are shipped over to Cambodia,” says Davidson.
“There’s some assembly required on the bikes before they are distributed, but all money does go towards purchasing them.”
Along with distributing bicycles, the team will be bringing over donations of schools supplies, used eyeglasses, toys and children’s clothes, which will be given out at the schools and orphanages visited.
At every bicycle distribution, a Cambodian dental professional will provide a dental hygiene lesson to the children, families and teachers, so BEL Rotary is also looking for donations of toothbrushes and toothpaste.
The clubs will also get to visit Cambodia’s historic sites, which in the past two years have included the famed temples of Angkor Wat, The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the Killing Fields, the Landmine Museum, the Royal Palace and National Museum.
“We will have the opportunity to see some of the country and to interact with the Cambodian people and learn about their situation in life,” says Davidson.
Rotary Club participants pay 100 per cent of their travel expenses including flight, ground transportation, accommodation and meals, so 100 per cent of the contribution goes to help the children.
In the past two service trips to Cambodia, a total of 2,328 bikes were distributed to needy children enabling them to swiftly cover the miles to school.
Also in the past two years, four tons of rice, 1,231 family-sized mosquito nets and thousands of toothbrushes and toothpaste have been sent over.
Many of the educated people of the country were eliminated by the Khmer Rouge regime, so the education of the youth is vital.
For more information or to donate contact Sue Davidson at 705-748-1011 ext. 7723 or visit www.rotarywheelsforlearning.com.
Copyright 2010 Lakefield Herald Ltd.
Return to The Herald Home Page