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Shinta Mani1

DialAFlight sponsors Cambodia’s first female tuk tuk driver

DialAFlight is partnering with the Shinta Mani Foundation in Cambodia to assist with its mission of training and equipping local people to build lives free from the constraints of poverty.

Recent projects aided by Make My Day Better - the charity arm of DialAFlight and the Lotus Group - include the purchase of a new motor vehicle to help Maly, 45, become Siem Reap's first female tuk tuk driver. Maly was given the vehicle and a small business loan to help her establish her business, and was chosen for the scheme as she has worked through many difficult circumstances in her life and was described as a "strong character."

Executive director of Shinta Mani, Chitra Vincent, explained that as the city's first female tuk tuk driver she might be teased by other drivers, and would need to be tough.

"Looking at all the different stories she experienced, she is a tough character," explained Ms Vincent in an interview with the local paper Siem Reap Insider. After her parents and two siblings were killed by the Khmer Rouge, Maly was married at just 16 and had three children. Her husband then left her and she saved money and bought an old motorbike to support herself and her three sons through their studies. Living alone in Siem Reap she also once had to fight off four intruders in her home.

The Shinta Mani Foundation is hoping that Maly will be the first of many women tuk tuk drivers in the city, giving women a new way of earning money and supporting themselves and their families.

As well as helping business start ups and providing small loans, Shinta Mani works to educate and provide healthcare to local people. Earlier this month a mobile medical unit sponsored by DialAFlight was able to treat 161 children in the village of Smach, providing care normally unavailable or too expensive for families in rural areas. DialAFlight also sponsors four students through Shinta Mani, giving them the opportunity to gain both an education and employment skills at the Shinta Mani hotel.

Make My Day Better supports a huge variety of charities all over the world, and to date has donated over £2 million to worthy causes. 10 per cent of all DialAFlight profits are donated to charity, with the overriding aim of funding projects which directly benefit people in need.
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