Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Why motorbikes are vital in Cambodia

When you exit the tourist trail in Cambodia, you enter a world completely unreachable by car. Villages in remote areas are connected by narrow, rugged tracks that wind through mountains, jungles and rice paddies.

Sopheak has been travelling these trails for four years, delivering supplies from ChildFund to families in the some of Cambodia’s poorest villages.

“When I arrive in a community and see the excitement of people, it makes me very happy,” Sopheak says. “People are so warm and grateful for the support. I am happy to be a part of that.”

Sopheak’s typical day begins at 5am, then takes him on an adventure that can span more than 200km across rugged terrain to communities in need of support.

“If you are not used to travelling in the communities it will be difficult,” Sopheak says. “In summer the roads can be very slick and it is easy to slide. In the rainy season it is very muddy and the roads can be flooded.”

The roads in Cambodia are tricky, but Sopheak enjoys delivering supplies to people in remote communities

In the places where ChildFund Cambodia works, services are severely limited, meaning any breakdown could result in a long journey on foot to the closest town.

Sopheak knows this work requires a reliable mode of transport. Cars are too big. Bicycles are too slow. Motorcycles are often the only thing connecting people in remote communities with the supplies they need.

They are light enough to be carried on an ox-drawn cart across a flooded road, but powerful enough to transport even the heaviest supplies.

When the road is flooded, sometimes you need to go old school

ChildFund Cambodia community workers use motorcycles to transport everything from books and educational equipment, to enormous concrete drainpipes that can be used to install toilets in communities and reduce the spread of diseases.

Health workers use motorcycles to visit people in remote communities and deliver vaccinations, medications and education materials.

These concrete drain pipes were transported by motorbike to remote communities, where they were used to install sanitation systems

“Motorcycles are absolutely vital to deliver essential items and services to some of the poorest children, families and villages in the country,” ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence said.

This year ChildFund Australia has launched the Post a Postie campaign to increase awareness of the importance of postie bikes in remote communities, while also encouraging Australians to support this effort by donating the cost of a motorcycle, a helmet or even a motor mechanic apprenticeship for Cambodia or Papua New Guinea.

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