March 18, 2013 | Education, Violence Against Women

Miracle Bikes

They help keep Cambodian girls in school.

Question: How do you enable hundreds of young Cambodian girls to get to school and avoid rape and abduction by sex traffickers?

The answer: Bicycles!

The nonprofit Lotus Pedals dispenses free bikes—and is changing lives in the process. Afraid for their daughters' safety, many rural parents keep their girls home from school. The stats tell the story: only 11 percent of Cambodian girls attend secondary school compared to 43 percent in the developing world overall.

Last year Lotus Pedals gave away 500 bikes in Cambodia. Founded in India in 1993, the group is now headquartered in San Francisco and serves more than 30,000 women, primarily in India and Cambodia.

It’s hard to attack a girl on a bike, Erika Keaveney, executive director of Lotus Outreach International, told The Chronicle of Philanthropy, adding, "It is amazing how many Cambodians can fit onto a bike. Our girls often give their siblings or neighbors a ride to school on the handlebars and anywhere else they can hold on, so one bike actually enables multiple kids to get to school."

To learn more, go to