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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Riding into a better future in Cambodia

In many rural communities in developing countries, children have to travel long distances to attend their nearest primary school. This is often done on foot, with children walking for many kilometres, usually from a very young age.

Not only is this exhausting on a daily basis, but for unsupervised children it can be dangerous too. This is a worrying reality for parents, who must risk the safety of their children in order to give them access to an education. In some instances, the distance which must be travelled between home and school makes it impossible for children to attend at all.

For 14-year-old Veth in Cambodia, getting to school was very difficult. Her home in a rural village is extremely isolated, situated many kilometres from the main road. To get to school Veth was forced to walk one hour there and one hour back each day.

Fortunately, in December 2013 Veth was the very happy recipient of a bicycle, purchased by a generous Australian through our Gifts for Good catalogue.

Veth says: “Before I received this bike, I had to walk or pay to ride a Tuk-Tuk to school.

“It is very far, but also it can be dangerous on the road. Sometimes I would get cut by thorns. I would sometimes see snakes on the road. And very often I would arrive at school very dirty, dusty or muddy, especially when it was raining.

Veth’s dream is to become a teacher. She knows that the best way to achieve her dream is by going to school and getting a good education. “The thing I am most afraid of is not being able to go to school. I love school,” she says. “Now I have this bicycle it helps me to get to school faster and I can travel safely.”

Not only does Veth`s new bike offer an easier journey to school, but she has also put it to good use in other ways. She explains: “I sometimes ride the bike to collect water, wash clothes and also I`ve used it to carry rice and rice seedlings to the rice field. It is very useful.”

For Veth, the gift of a bike has been life-changing: “I love riding the bicycle because it is fun. It makes me feel happy and it is good for exercise!”

Thank you to our generous Aussie supporters who together have provided more than 14,000 gifts over the past year which are making a difference in the lives of children, like young Veth, and their families all around the world! 

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