News Release

Fulfilling a Promise of Education: FSY Cambodia 2023 Delivers Hope and Support to Students (ការបំពេញ​ការសន្យា​នៃ​ការអប់រំ ៖ ដ.ក.យ. កម្ពុជា ឆ្នាំ ២០២៣ ផ្តល់​ក្តី​សង្ឃឹម និង​ការគាំទ្រ​ដល់​សិស្សានុ​សិស្ស​ជាច្រើន)

Uniting Faith and Action: Latter-day Saint Volunteers Distribute 1,000 School Kits Across Three Cambodian Provinces

ដើម្បីអានជាភាសាខ្មែរ សូមចុច នៅទីនេះ

On a sunny Saturday December morning, children gathered outside the Sothearous Primary School in Phnom Penh. The youngest students were early and patient as they waited for their older schoolmates to follow suit. Khen Sophan, the principal, turned on a megaphone and called the group to attention. The students slapped their arms to their sides in quick obedience, and then placed their right hand on the right shoulder of the student immediately in front of them. This simple action shook the tangled lines into precision. They were now ready to listen. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have come to give you a new school bag,” he announced. The children burst into applause.

On a table at the head of the crowd were hundreds of nylon backpacks looking for new homes. The backpacks were filled by Latter-day Saint youth and young adults participating in a service project that was part of the 2023 For the Strength of Youth (FSY) Conference in Cambodia (related article here). Several of the participants and counselors reunited at Sothearous Primary School morning to share the gifts of their labor.

Sister Patricia Gerlach, the Church humanitarian senior missionary who managed the FSY service project, received the megaphone. “Be sure to get a good education,” she told the students. “Getting a good education can help you be whoever you want to be and become whoever you want to become.”

The young adults and missionaries then handed a backpack to each student and were in turn thanked with hand-shaped hearts and hugs from the students. Principal Sophan then led the children in a call and response chant of thanks and appreciation.

An FSY Cambodia 2023 staff member showcases the contents of the supply kits assembled by the youth. © 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

On another Saturday in Banteay Meanchey Province, students of Bung Khtom Primary School of the Ochrov District, received 206 school bags. Banteay Meanchey Province Education Director, Mr. Chou Bunreung organized the donation in cooperation with Principal Penh Kimsan.

Sister Patricia Smith, another Church humanitarian senior missionary based in Siem Reap, gave a message of encouragement to the students reminding them to stay in school and complete their education. “An education opens doors for you that will lead to a better job, make you a better husband or wife and a better parent.”

The remaining 196 school kits were donated to Khor Phdeak Primary School in Pouk District of the Siem Reap Province. Principal Tek Ry was grateful for the donation, which was delivered by the President Liem Pisal, branch president of the Siem Reap Second Branch of the Church, and a group of Latter-day Saint students from the Mentors International Learning & Mentoring Center in Siem Reap.

This service project reflects the words of Church President Russell M. Nelson when he said, “Pursue your education as a priority of the highest order. Gain all the education you can.” (BYU-I Devotional, 26 January 2010, Rexburg, ID, USA)

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.