The “Beyond the Games” campaign, created by the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC), is urging Cambodians, both inside and outside the country, to participate in folding up to one million origami hearts and break a Guinness World Record.
The campaign has initiated the attempt to encourage people to show their support for this year’s 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games. The campaign aims to harness support for each member of Team Cambodia, prior, during, and especially after, the games.
At a press conference last week, UYFC president Hun Many said the campaign is not only focussed on breaking the world record, but on expressing love, encouragement, support and solidarity with Cambodians from all over the world.
“Beyond the Games is a campaign that gives everyone a chance to express their pride in the Kingdom. We aim to create a spirit of unity and strength and show what volunteerism and dedication can achieve. It will play a part in creating memories that will last long after the games have ended,” he added.
The UYFC is determined to shatter the existing record by creating one million hearts by April 2.
“Right now the world record holder is the UK, with 53,704 hearts. Our ambition is to make 1 million hearts and establish a new record,” said Sok Sabayna, executive director of the Beyond the Games campaign.
Five sponsors have agreed to reward the patriotism of those who participate, by making a donation to one of the Kingdom’s sporting bodies. V-Active, Smart Telecommunications, the Many Foundation, ABA Bank and Clear, a haircare company, have agreed to come on board with the project.
“Our sponsors have agreed that they will pay 500 riel for each of the folded hearts. If we make one million of them, we will collect 500 million Riel, equivalent to $125,000. The money will go directly from our sponsors to the National Paralympic Committee of Cambodia, which represents Cambodian national athletes with disabilities,” added Sabayna.
Beyond the Games have registered 84 locations in Cambodia for the campaign, along with several abroad.
Some criticism has been received from some members of the public who see the campaign as unnecessary.
“We are not folding hearts and throwing them away – we have a clear direction and purpose. The hearts symbolise our understanding of the passion and sacrifices made by the Kingdom’s athletes. This campaign gives us a chance to express our gratitude and shows the extent of the Cambodian spirit, which always aims to help other Cambodians,” said Sabayna.
“Cambodia was described as a small country with a big heart when it allowed the MS Westerdam cruise ship to dock here at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is another opportunity to show how apt the description was,” added Many.