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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - We as a nation need to develop a culture of helping others

We as a nation need to develop a culture of helping others

DEVELOPING countries always face challenges because there are not enough social-services resources for people, especially the poor, who need to access them for free.

In Cambodia, many people think only about their personal benefits rather than social ones. Is that an ideal situation in a post-war country that desperately needs people to work for the public interest?

Human resources are the basic foundation of social development, and young Cambodians should participate as much possible in community work. They should initiate social projects to fulfil people’s requirements, especially those in rural areas.  As I have learned over the past 10 years, young Cambod-ians don’t do a lot for the community; they don’t place much value on social work such as volunteering.

But, as developed countries come here to launch NGOs and need applicants who have a background in social work, more Cambodian young people are likely to change their mindset.

I have noticed that some young Cambodians take up their time with activities that are of no benefit to themselves or to society. They should  not turn a blind eye and ignore everything in our society that needs fixing.

Don’t they feel ashamed that foreigners have to assist their people with social projects?

Why aren’t Cambodians helping out?

By now, Cambodian people should have learned about the social needs and problems in their country. The government should also have given young people more opportunities to undertake social work.

In Indonesia, for example, schools encourage their students to carry out social projects to help their communities  In Cambodia, not so many schools or universities are involved in social projects.

Cambodian schools should treat social work as a school assignment, because that could help prompt more young people to become involved in it.

Every year, the Cambodian Red Cross selects students from every high school to become Red Cross Youth volunteers. That program seems to be going well, as I always see them along the street or at traffic lights, helping to educate people about the traffic law.

Some Cambodians are unwilling to participate in social work because they cannot get visible benefits such as money. Some have simply given up without a struggle.

In Europe, and in some developing countries, young people have the awareness to initiate, and join in, social projects.

During a two-month stay in Indonesia, I noticed that young people there are highly active in community work.

Raymon Sembiring, from the University of Indonesia’s public relations and media division, told me he did comm-unity work without wanting anything back for his effort and time.

Ricky, a member of the Youth Empowering  Project (YEP)  in Indonesia, said: “It’s common sense to contribute something to help society, because I’m
a member of it.

“I do want to help my society, rather than just wasting my time doing something useless.

“People have to realise that social work not only helps society in general but also the individuals involved. It gives young people a chance to share.”



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