Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cambodian Rotarians help to Distribute 70 More Rotary Bikes in Battambang District!

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Many thanks to President Nouv Saroeun, and Kuy Samrithy and Fellow-Rotarians from the -chartered Rotary Club of Battambang, Cambodia, District 3350, for spending the morning helping to distribute 70 Rotary Wheels for Learning bicycles to needy children at the Koas Krala district office of the Cambodian Red Cross. Another big thank you to Sopheany Chhoeun, Ben Sida and Lueung Deun from the Cambodian Red Cross here who put so much effort into identifying and rounding-up all the Rotary Wheels for Learning Bicycle recipients. It's a huge job to get 70 children from from villages around the district to show up at a specific time on a specific date!  Many of the children's families don't have phones or transportation - I can truly appreciate the momumental scope of this task.

Sopheany Chhoeun, Lisa McCoy and President Nouv Saroeun of
The Rotary Club of Battambang

Rotarians Samrithy, Lisa and President Nouv
with a Rotary bicycle Recipient

Sopheany and I left Battambang at 6am yesterday morning to accompany the truckload of bicycles to Koas Krala - some 50km away.  We made it to Koas Krala by 8:30am to an eagerly awaiting group of children and families from all over the district.  The Rotarians from Battambang had arrived just ahead of us and as soon as the truck arrived behind us, everyone helped to unload the bicycles and put the Rotary decals on the frames.

It was a truly wonderful experience for me to distribute bicycles for these children alongside Rotarians from Cambodia!

Once we had the bicycles all set up it was time for speeches. Every one of us gave a speech, but it was most meaningful to have Rotarians from Cambodia tell the rural people in their own language the ideals of Rotary and its dedication to providing help to people and children such as themselves.

Battambang Rotarian Kuy Samrithy Explains the Ideals of Rotary to Rural Children & their Families

As the speeches were being given, it was so heartwarming to catch sight of what was going on out in the yard where all the bicycles were - landmine survivors who had received bicycle repair kits from The Rotary Club of Etobicoke and The Canadian Landmine Foundation (through A Mine Free World Foundation) had all come to help put the baskets, lamps and pedals on the bicycles!  Their way of 'giving back' for what had been given to them!

Landmine Survivor Nil Noy Helps a Child Put Accessories on His Bike
Once the speeches were over, it did not take long for us Rotarians to get a 'Bicycle Distribution Assembly Line' going. Sopheany and Samrithy had the children sign the donor forms. Then the children took their forms to a Red Cross volunteer, where they were assigned a bicycle.  After that, they were sent to President Nouv and I where we documented and photographed the children.  We had the 70 bicycles distributed in record time!

Once the distribution was completed, all of us - Rotarians and Red Cross Volunteers - went out for a celebratory lunch at my favorite village restaurant in Koas Krala.

Another huge thanks goes to the Rotary Club Of Aurora, Ontario, who sponsored 43 of the 70 bicycles we gave out.

Rotary Wheels for Learning is now raising funds for a distribution of 75 bicycles for needy children at Wat Vihear Kpous Kpous Primary School in Takeo province.  I had visited this school of over 300 children  a couple of months ago where I had espied only 20 odd bikes in the yard.

I head back to Canada at the end of March.  I would love to be able to get one more distribution of Rotary Bikes to children in this school area that so desperately need a bicycle.

Your appreciated donation of $50 will provide a bicycle for a child here in Cambodia. To donate - just click on the above PayPal link or visit the 'About RWFL' tab at the top of this page. Donors in Canada will receive a tax receipt from our Rotary Club of Gravenhurst. We will also send you a photo of your sponsored child with the bicycle you provide for them.

Many thanks from our Rotary Club of Gravenhurst to all of you who made this third distribution of bicycles possible.

Upcoming Distribution:  February 22nd - Patti Lee, Barbara Seagram, and their Bridge Group From Canada are touring South East Asia and will help distribute 25 Rotary Bicycles that have been donated by their group to the children at Banyan Learning Tree School on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

Your group or club can sponsor any amount of bicycles to needy children in Cambodia and even help give them out! Email us at to get involved.

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