by Mom Chantara Soleil
First-ever of its kind, a group of 33 Australian women have cycled from Vietnam to Cambodia – an effort not only to raise fund to support deprived girls but also to tell what women can do in order to cheer the 102th International Women’s Day.
“All too often, girls in developing countries are expected to fulfill the role of wife, mother and home-maker. This can manifest in the form of child marriage and early pregnancy long before their bodies and minds are fully developed,” said one of the girl cyclists 40-year-old Aussie Monique Senior, appreciating Plan’s Because I am a Girl campaign that will promote change for the better.
“I am so inspired. I want my family, especially my daughter, to know that there are many girls in bad need. Education opportunity is key for them to have good lives in their future,” added Mrs. Tanya Jones, another cyclist.
According to Lani Masuku, Plan Australia’s community giving manager, globally, a third of girls are denied the secondary education that can be the key to breaking the cycle of poverty for them and their families.
Travelling all the way from Ho Chi Minh city of Vietnam, the cyclists arrived Kampong Cham town of Cambodia on the 7th day (7 March 2013) of their 10-day trip, before heading off to Siem Reap province – their final destination.
The team, branded Inspired Adventure, also explored Plan Cambodia’s efforts to address girls’ issues, especially the intervention to improve livelihood of the poorest in Kampong Cham.
“This is my first time seeing foreign women cycling to my village. I admire their generosity to do something useful to improve lives of poor girls though they are from different country,” said Mrs. Chhorn Srey while welcoming the cyclists.
The Cycle for Girls is part of Plan’s Because I am a Girl campaign officially launched last year across the globe. To support the campaign, more than sixty Plan countries are taking actions to make concrete changes in the lives of girls, especially the marginalised and vulnerable.