Past Partners and Projects

This Life Cambodia - (2015-2017)

Vocational Training Social Enterprise – Moto Doctor (VTSE – Moto Doctor) Project

This was primarily a 1 year model project which was jointly developed by Lotus Relief Charitable Trust and This Life Cambodia and was funded by Lotus-Trust and two of its long-term supporters, Mr Toby and Mrs Gina Wyles,

The aim of the project was to give youngsters vocational skills to ultimately enable them to earn a living in this sector and to help them reintegrate back into society.

The enterprise side of the project was supposed to create profits, from the sale of services to the public – whilst training the youngsters.  The profits would be used to fund the overall project to a large degree reducing material the funding needs from Third Parties. The project hired 2 vocational trainers who whilst training the youngsters also sold their services to the public. The youngsters themselves (once they acquired sufficient skills) assisted the trainers in servicing the public. At the same time, a social worker was also employed by the project to support the youngsters with reintegration and social needs  Both the training and the services were carried out in a shop rented by the project in Siem Reap town. The name of the shop is “The Moto Doctor”.

A business manager was hired into the project to run the enterprise side of the project, with a view to producing profits within a period of 3-4 months.  The business manager worked closely with the trainers, the social worker and with TLC who is based in Siem Reap and operated the project.

The goal of the VTSE project was for the Enterprise side to eventually produce profits covering 70-80% of the total project costs, with the remainder being covered by the Partners (Lotus and TLC) and long-term donors.

As the VTSE project was nearing the end of the 1 year period it became obvious to Lotus that the Enterprise side of the project was not making anywhere near the profits forecasted. Lotus took the decision to inject more funds into the project and to extend the project by a further 3 months.  This was done to enable the business manager, with help of Lotus and Lotus’ Country Representative, to turn it around. At the same time, it became obvious to Lotus that TLC (Lotus’ local partner implementing the project) was more focused on the social elements of the project and was increasingly focused on running the project as a pure social project – their main area of expertise.

It quickly became apparent that the business manager was neither able to increase the profits nor exercise control over the expenditure, especially on the spare parts. This, together with the knowledge that the local partner had somewhere along the line changed its view on running a vocational social enterprise project, preferring instead to run the project as a pure social project, convinced Lotus that it sadly had to walk away from the VTSE project at the end of the extended period.

A big amount of funds was invested in the project over a period of 15-16 months, and an enormous amount of time and effort supporting the business manager and the project at large was spent, so the decision was not taken lightly.

Lotus is pleased to have been a major part of developing and funding the VTSE project.  Lotus is proud to have designed and helped establish a complete infrastructure for the VTSE project.  An infrastructure it has left behind enabling TLC to continue running the project as a pure social project

Lotus still firmly believes in the vocational training social enterprise concept.

Neary Khmer - (2009-2012)

In August 2009 Lotus funded a 3 years nutrition and health project for children under 5 years old in 7 villages; Tomleab, Kouk Daung Thmei, Kouk Pnev, Kouk Trabek, Kouk Daung Chas, Kchar, Kouk Snuol, in the Kouk Daung Commune, Angkor Chum district, Siem Siem Reap.

Water Filter Distribution

Funding was also given for the purchase of additional water filters, water vats and lids.  This enabled a large number of the families in the villages to store and keep their water clean, as well as enabling them to distil water before drinking it and cooking with it.  This dramatically reduced the number of water-related illnesses in the community.

For the period August 2009 to August 2012 the achievements attained within Neary Khmer’s  “Sustainable Nutritious Food Security” project, were:

•     20 water pump water wells installed.

•     240 water jars distributed.

•     350 water filters distributed.

•     104 healthy, breastfeeding and infant care training sessions undertaken which were attended  by 235 lactating mothers and pregnant women.

•      A further 427 mothers of under 5s attended training and hygiene training sessions.

•     Collaboration with commune councils, village chiefs and the communities strengthened.

In April 2011 Lotus also funded a 3 months “Intensive Feeding Programme” for 106 children that were identified as still being chronically malnourished. Monitoring results showed that many parents had to travel daily out of the villages to work during the dry season which prevented them from caring for their younger children during the day. As part of the “Nutritious food security” project, a village health volunteer was responsible for disseminating information and providing care and advise in each village. As part of the 3 months “Intensive Feeding Programme”, the volunteers organised day care for children under 5 years old, including feeding the children lunch with food provided by the project. The programme achieved positive results.

Neary Khmer village volunteer demonstrating nutritional cooking
Khmer Development of Freedom Organization (KDFO) - (2008-2011)

The objectives of KDFO are:

1.   To provide basic needs, such as food and shelter, to Street children and the children of Street families.

2.   To enable children to have some informal education and some vocational training.

3.   To prevent the trafficking of women and children.

4.   To assist families of Street children by increasing their income generating capacity through skills training.

Between 2008 and 2011 Lotus sponsored a number of KDFO projects ranging from funding the cost of English lessons for the Project Manager, funding the cost of providing additional food for the children, paying the shortfall in rent for the Centre, paying additional salaries for the teachers to make them more competitive, building a barrier wall at the back of the old Centre to stop it from flooding during the rainy season, etc.

Tabitha-Cambodia - (2004-2007)

Savings Programme:

Tabitha-Cambodia was founded in 1994 by Janne Ritskes, a Canadian with 20 years experience working in the slums of the United States, Philippines, Kenya and Cambodia.  Tabitha-Cambodia works to improve the lives of the poorest of the poor.

Between 2004 and 2007 Lotus sponsored Tabitha-Cambodia’s Savings Programme in the Siem Reap and Svay Rieng provinces, by funding the interest paid to the families in the Savings Programme.  A total of 6,000 families were in the Savings Programme in both provinces.

When Lotus supported Tabitha-Cambodia it paid a 10% interest to the families at the end of each 10-week savings cycle.

Tabitha-Cambodia’s believes that savings is a non-threatening way to make choices, which is very necessary for a people who have a very low self esteem.

All families in Cambodia, no matter how poor, have some cash available. The families can earn this cash from any number of ways; cutting grass to sell to a farmer or collecting discarded plastic bottles and cans. Saving a little of this cash each week is at the core of Tabitha-Cambodia’s Savings Programme.  Families are encouraged to save a small amount each week; this money is collected by the local Tabitha-Cambodia staff. At the end of each 10-week savings cycle, the savings are returned. The family is then encouraged to purchase the item it had identified at the start of the 10-week savings cycle. After purchase, the item saved for the families continue in the savings programme for further 10 week cycles.

Savings enables families to provide for their basic needs;  to have cooking utensils, to have bedding and mosquito nets; several sets of clothing per family member, chairs and tables to sit at, batteries to provide light at night, water jars to store water for home use. Through savings, families can also increase their income through raising pigs and chickens and through the establishment of small business.

House Building Project:

Lotus participated 4 times in Tabitha-Cambodia’s House Building activities.  During their Trustee visits to monitor the Savings Programme the Trustees extended their visits to undertake house building activities.  Each time taking with them a team of 6 young people.

Tabitha-Cambodia’s House Building project encourages foreign volunteer teams to raise funds and travel to Cambodia to build a house for families in the Tabitha-Cambodia Savings Programme. The teams cover their own costs, pay a development fee to Tabitha-Cambodia and cover the cost of the houses they are to build.