How a bike becomes a school
In 2014, Mike Kinsey of the Barrie Kempenfelt Rotary Club got involved with Lisa McCoy of Rotary Wheels of Learning on a trip to Cambodia to distribute bicycle in rural villages, as without the bikes the kids can’t go to school. One of the people he met during the trip was Sophea, a guide, a translator and who was also a tuk-tuk driver (like a taxi driver). Sophea would give a month a year of his life to help with the bicycle distribution in his village while foregoing his income as a tuk-tuk driver (which was not much to begin with). When asked why of his generosity, he said that because there is no school in his village. The kids need bike to get to school, which often can be more than 10km away. In and off-the cuff comment, Mike Kinsey said that “we should build a school in your village”…and that’s how it all started.
In January 2015, Mike, his wife MaryAnne, and 26 Barrie Kempenfelt Rotary members and supporters headed to Cambodia for a month-long construction project. The first school was built and up to 300 children, five days a week receiving English and other life skills training.
In 2016, a second school building was built by the Rotary Club of BEL. The addition building becomes a mutli-use facility consisting of a library, classroom, sewing room, and teacher accommodation.
In April 2017, a vocation training team, a partnership between District 7010 and the Rotary Club of BEL, and the educational faculty of Trent University work with teachers and the Rotary School and the school run by Banyan Learning Tree for 3 weeks in Cambodia for teachers training.