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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Youth of the week: Ly Bunheng

Youth of the week: Ly Bunheng

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No matter what country it is, development is contingent on its people – and especially, on a nation’s youth looking forward to new generations and aspiring to greatness.

Twenty-four year old Ly Bunheng, a fourth-year student at the Royal University of Agriculture, is busy balancing his university thesis and giving back to the community so that he, too, can help develop the future of Cambodia.

“Nationalism is not only a word,” he said. “Nationalism is something that we can do, and it can benefit everyone in society.”

Bunheng began as a volunteer in 2009. He helped organise the Help Our Homeland event at the National Institute of Education, a forum geared to help youth choose the right major and find both scholarships for study and job opportunities.

Over 1,000 people attended the event.

After that, Bunheng began regularly attending and organising English training sessions, book distributions in rural areas and various youth forums.

In 2012, Bunheng was awarded a scholarship under the Undergraduate Intensive English Language Study Program scheme, which allowed him to undertake English studies in America for two months.

After he returned to Cambodia from America, Bunheng and his fellow program alumni joined together to implement a joint project between the two countries – the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund – to share the knowledge that they gained in America with young Cambodians.

“The project comes from our hearts, to share our experiences and knowledge with young Cambodians who don’t have the same chance to study abroad,” Bunheng said.

Today, Bunheng cooperates with three of his friends to run the Social Enterprise for Capacity Development. Just recently, his social enterprise has released a book– Win Scholarships Abroad and Successful Application Forms.

They’ve triumphantly sold over 1,000 copies domestically, so far.

“The purpose of writing the book is to contribute to Cambodia’s development,” he said. “We want to encourage young Cambodians to get scholarships abroad, rather than simply sitting back and earning a profit.”

“None of the book has been translated or copied from other books.”

“All of the ideas came from the four of us based on our experience.”

In the foreseeable future, Bunheng hopes to spread a message that business should not simple be about profit in Cambodia – but instead, inspiring a nation to move forward.

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