Rotary Wheels For Learning Project

Leanne Johnson of the Rotary Club of Orillia revisited the Orillia Kiwanis Club to update the members on the Rotary Wheels For Learning project (RWFL).

Leanne said she joined Rotary initially as she wanted to continue to travel but was at a stage in her life where she no longer wished to do it as a backpacker.  When she learned of the Gravenhurst Rotary Club’s RWFL undertaking, she jumped in with both feet.

Once again this year, she will be making the long trek to Cambodia but this time as a lead on the project.  And on a personal note, she is planning to move to Cambodia longer term this year!

RWFL focusses on providing bicycles for families in Cambodia, so they can manage the essentials of living – getting to water sources, supplies and for children, to school.  There are no shortcuts due to risks such as landmines, and without the bicycles it would not be possible for the people to live properly and get their children educated.

Because of the Pol Pot regimes, which saw the mass execution of anyone with education, the average population age in Cambodia is just 25, and it is imperative to educate the young people so the country can advance.

The primary industry is textiles, with the average wage just $157 per month, although there are projects underway to expand the diversity of the economy – such as alternative farming, and tourism.  There are eco-cycle tours and the Chi Pat Adventure Tours, which are offering hope and opportunity to the residents.

RWFL takes bicycle parts and volunteers to remote areas of Cambodia, where used bicycles (locally sourced) are repaired and made useable.  The group then travels to eight different communities to present the bicycles – about 800 bikes per year are distributed.

The team spends 3 1/2 weeks in the country, eight days spent doing the presentations, and the rest travelling through some arduous terrain.  It does not sound like it is for the faint of heart!

Cambodia faces huge challenges as it rebuilds, but it is making progress, much of it due to groups such as the Rotary Wheels For Learning project.  Kudos to Rotary for making a difference.

 

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PHOTO:  Kiwanian Peter Head, Leanne Johnson, Kiwanis President Steph Worthington

Categories Latest News | Tags: | Posted on January 18, 2017

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