Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bridge Group from Toronto Distributes Rotary Wheels for Learning Bicycles in Cambodia

A Huge thanks to Patti Lee, Barbara Seagram and their Bridge Group from Toronto, Canada for sponsoring and helping to distribute 40 Rotary Wheels for Learning Bicyles for children at Banyan Learning Tree School on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

Patti Lee, Barbara Seagram, Marney Charles and Neil Burnham from the group came to the school and helped distribute 27 of these bicycles plus dental supplies, school supplies, digital cameras, lice combs and clothes for needy area children. We all had a great time!

Since the February distribution of 25 bicycles that their group distributed, their group has raised funds for a further 13 bicycles that will be given to needy Banyan Learning Tree area children this March.  What an amazing contribution towards access to education this group has made!

Patti Lee, Neil Burnham, Barbara Seagram and Marney Charles
with their donation of 25 Rotary Wheels for Learning Bicycles

The Bridge Group has been on a luxurious Mekong riverboat cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia. With extra suitcases full of these donations, they docked at Phnom Penh harbor the evening of February 21st and the following morning at 8:30am, two tuk tuks, including our volunteer Vanthon, picked up our eager visitors and we all made the hot, half-hour journey to Banyan Learning Tree School.

Banyan Learning Tree School (BLT) is a Cambodian registered Free-Education School located in Borey Kamakor village - not far from the Choeung Ek Killing Fields. You will pass the BLT sign on the road on the way to the Killing Fields.  BLT is supported by non-governmental organizations. It has free hour-long classes through-out the day teaching English Literacy, Dental Hygiene and Basic Sanitation.

The school has only been operating a year now, but already there are 75 children attending throughout the day.  Many come from several surrounding villages and walk quite a way to attend. There are also students who can't attend because they don't have a bicycle.

Patti Lee Being Followed by Cambodia Channel 5!
It was quite at sight to arrive at this small school and see the welcome banner, Rotary Bicycles, many happy children, parents and a TV Camera!!  This distribution was recorded for Cambodia Channel 5.

The welcome banner in blue was made by the children...each white letter cut out by hand.  I had visited the school the day before and saw the teachers and children frantically working away on all the preparations.

These were the first international visitors the school has ever had!

The Bicycle Distribution Ceremony was filled with speeches given by everyone - even a student representative spoke both in Khmer and English thanking the Bridge Group and Rotary. Special Cambodian Guest of Honor was  Mr. Voek Samoeun, Chief of Sangkat Dangkor in district/Khan Dangkor, Phnom Penh.

Part of the ceremony also included the opening of a small library at the school for the children - sponsored by Robena Kirton of Gravenhurst, Ontario.

Many thanks to Banyan Learning Tree Director Om Chamnap for his warm welcome to our friends from Toronto and for providing one of the most heart-warming Rotary Bicycle Distributions yet!
Director Om Chamnap Teaching Dental Hygiene with New Library in Background
Rotary Wheels for Learning is now looking for sponsors for our Phase 4 Distribution - 75 bicycles for needy children at a remote government school in Takeo province. Wat Vihear Kpous Primary School has over 300 children, the majority of which don't have a bicycle and walk miles to attend school six days-a-week.

You can sponsor one ($50), or more, of these children with a bicycle and receive a Canadian tax receipt for your donation. You'll also get a photo of your sponsored child with their Rotary Bicycle.  You can donate using our PayPal portal at the top of this page, or by cheque - see our About RWFL Tab at the top of this site. 

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