Tuesday, May 13, 2014

2014 Team of Rotarians & Friends Distribute 1,333 Bicycles in Cambodia

 Keep reading for news on our 2015 Rotary Wheels for Learning Bicycle Distribution Trip to Cambodia!

During January and February 2014, our Team of Rotarians & Friends from across District 7010 (Ontario, Canada) provided 1,333 Cambodian children with bicycles enabling them to get to school. This, our third distribution trip to Cambodia, has now provided a grand total of 3,661 bicycles to impoverished children across the country.

The team traveled throughout Cambodia from January 25th to February 17th and distributed bicycles in 12 target locations in five provinces (Takeo, Kampong Speu, Siem Reap, Battambang and Phnom Penh).

Our 2014 team was comprised of 28 Rotarians & Friends:

Andrew Walton & Kat Beck

Donna Hanna & Beverly Rogers

Sue Whitley – Rotary Club of Parry Sound

John and Pat Hulme- Rotary Club of Bracebridge

Girvin & Cheryl  Devitt- Rotary Club of Bridgenorth,-Ennismore-Lakefield

Steve & Janice Hayhurst – Rotary Club of Gravenhurst

Carol Cartier & Pete Burrell

Mike & Mary Anne Kinsey- Rotary Club of Barrie-Kempenfelt

Marc Durocher- Rotary Club of Matheson

Lisa McCoy-Rotary Club of Gravenhurst

Steve and Andrea Roberts- Rotary Club of Haliburton

George Kadoke-Rotary Club of Haliburton

Brian & Dorothy Menton-Rotary Club of Haliburton

Ron & Margaret Walton-Rotary Club of Bracebridge

Doug Patterson

Elizabeth Harvey

Tony & Susan Davidson- Rotary Club of Bridgenorth,-Ennismore-Lakefield
Our 2014 Bicycle Distribution Team

During our five days of distributions in Battambang, we were joined by members of the Rotary Club of Battambang, Marram Woods from the Rotary Club of Haliburton and spouse Glenn, John Tange from the Rotary Club of Store Heddinge, District 1480, Denmark, and spouse Britta.

We were also very pleased to have Ken Little’s (Rotary Club of Gravenhurst) daughter Karly and her friend Kathleen Cook join us in Battambang to add their muscles to the bike assembly work.

We were very fortunate to have as our Local Guide and 24/7 Translator, Sophea Keo. He took care of our every need. Sophea is one of our A Mine Free World Foundation and Banyan Learning Tree volunteers here in Cambodia.

Another special thanks goes to team member Marc Durocher – who expertly photographed every bicycle recipient and all of the highlights of our trip.

We would also like to thank many of the cooperating organizations in Cambodia that helped choose the neediest of children requiring a bicycle to get to school and helped organize the distributions and ceremonies. They include:

Free The Bears – www.freethebears.org.au

Caring For Cambodia – www.caringforcambodia.org

Banyan Learning Tree – www.banyanlearningtree.org

People Improvement Organization (PIO) – www.peopleimprovement.org

Volunteer Development Children’s Association (VDCA) – www.vdca-cambodia.org

Om Chamnap, of Banyan Learning Tree and Rotarian Nouv Saroeun deserve a round of thanks – they made sure that every bike got to its target location ahead of our team.

Our team’s work involved attaching the pedals, lamps, bells, baskets and brackets to the bicycles that were delivered by trucks to our distribution location sites. We also straightened out all the handlebars, pumped hundreds and hundreds of tires, and performed ‘surgery’ to any bikes that befell damage during shipment on the rough Cambodian roads.
Our Team Prepares the Bicycles

At almost every distribution location, school directors, teachers and dignitaries had a special

Bicycle Distribution Ceremony planned. Members from our team would take turns attending the ceremonies and providing speeches to the local children and parents. One of our distributions was filmed and televised by Cambodian Channel 5.
The Bicycle Distribution Ceremony

Our team also brought over suitcases of donated items – school supplies, toys and clothes, laptops and toothbrushes and toothpaste, which were distributed at each location. Our team and its donations, bike tools and parts traveled many long hours on our 45-seat bus to each bicycle target location.

At each of our distributions, members from our local team provided a dental hygiene lesson, with demonstrations given by our team members on ‘the proper way to brush’. Following the lesson, we provided each child with a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush.
Teaching Dental Hygiene!

We all had a fabulous time whether at work or ‘at play’. Most of the bicycles were distributed in the rural areas, where our team worked alongside with rural folk on the bicycles. We also enjoyed many village-level experiences including cooking, boating and the local Battambang ‘Bamboo Train’.

Our team also visited many cultural and historical sites including Angkor Wat, the Killing Fields, Camp S-21 Genocide Museum, the Royal Palace, Phnom Sampov, a Silk Farm and the Cambodian Landmine Museum. At the end of the trip, we enjoyed three full days swimming, snorkeling and boating on the beaches and islands near Sihanoukville- a refreshing rejuvenation after sweating on bicycle assembly for three weeks under the hot Cambodian sun with temperatures in the 30’s most days.
Guided Tour of the Royal Palace

Our team of Rotarians and Friends gave their all to make sure each child received a bicycle in top-notch working order.

All this would not be possible without the generosity of each person, business, club or organization that donated bicycles to the cause – we pass along thanks from each child that received a bicycle.


We already have a team forming to head over to Cambodia to distribute more bikes to needy children. The three-week trip is open to all Rotarians and their Friends. The date is January 27th (arrive in Phnom Penh) to February 17th (depart Phnom Penh). Participants are responsible for booking their own return airfare (approx. $1,300 to $1,900) and ground costs including all transportation, accommodation and meals approximately US$2,200.

Plans are already underway to distribute bicycles in the following locations – we have a couple of new areas we will be targeting:

Svay Chrum District in Svay Rieng Province, Chi Pat in Koh Kong province, Phnom Penh, Battambang Province, Siem Reap Province and Takeo Province.

For further details contact Lisa McCoyrotarywheelsforleaning@gmail.com , 705-644-0779

To donate towards our 2015 bike distributions, you can provide a child with a sturdy bicycle for $50 in your name, or in the name of a friend. You will receive a tax receipt (for donations in Canada) and a thank you letter. Once we complete our 2015 distributions, you will receive a photo of the child you supported with a bicycle.

Donations by cheque made out to ‘Rotary Club of Gravenhurst’. In memo field ‘RWFL’, and mailed to:

Rotary Club of Gravenhurst,

Box 888,

Gravenhurst, ON,

P1P 1V2


Here follow some photos of children supported by clubs throughout our 7010 District:

Rotary Club of Washago & Area-Centennial - 20 Bikes

Rotary Club of Barrie-Kempenfelt - 69 Bikes
Rotary Club of Matheson - 10 Bikes
Rotary Club of Bracebridge - 60 Bikes
Rotary Club of Parry Sound - 25 Bikes
Rotary Club of Peterborough-Kawartha Lakes - 10 Bikes
Rotary Club of Bridgenorth-Ennismore-Lakefield - 20 Bikes

Rotary Club of North Bay - 40 Bikes
Rotary Club of Haliburton - 11 Bikes
Rotary Club of Gravenhurst - 240 Bikes

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