The “10,000 Riel 10,000 Donors” campaign to fund the quintet of Kantha Bopha’s Children’s Hospital raised around $100,000 in its first day, on June 1, according to the organiser.

“The Cambodia Kantha Bopha Foundation is pleased to announce that the Cambodian people have donated approximately $100,000 in riel and US dollars,” it said in a June 3 Facebook post.

The campaign kicked off on June 1 to coincide with World Children’s Day, and will run through the end of the month.

“The Cambodia Kantha Bopha Foundation and Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital would like to express our deepest gratitude to all the philanthropists who find it in their heart to contribute towards the sustainability of the five Kantha Bopha hospitals across the country,” it said.

As suggested by its name, the month-long campaign aims to inspire 10,000 people to donate 10,000 riel ($2.50) each.

According to the Cambodian-run foundation – established to help support the Kantha Bopha hospitals – donors can contribute funds through a number of no-fee donation channels listed in a Facebook post at (last character a capital “i”) or use a QR Code.

Chan Narith – undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Economy and Finance who also serves as chairman of the foundation secretariat – said on June 5 that the foundation expected around $25,000 to be donated over the length of the campaign. The public had embraced the cause, however, and donated almost $100,000 on the very first day of the campaign.

He said that after the campaign ends on June 30, local and international donors still can make donations, noting that the foundation has two groups of donors: honorary members who donate $5,000 per year, and supporting members who donate 5,000 riel monthly or 60,000 riel annually.

According to Narith, there are more than 130 founding members of the Cambodian-run foundation, including Prime Minister Hun Sen. Founding members had each donated at least $200,000 at the start of the foundation. Their memberships will last forever, but they are still invited to contribute.

Meanwhile, Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital, which goes by the Facebook username @dr.beat.richner after its late founder, reported that its June 1 fundraiser event at the Tonhalle concert hall in Zurich, Switzerland – Dr Richner’s hometown where he passed away in 2018 – had been a success.

The foundation said in January that it received more than $20 million in donations last year.

Dr Richner in 1992 established the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital, which now has more than 2,500 Cambodian doctors, nurses and staff. On average, its annual operating budget is about $40 million.

Every day, the five Kantha Bopha hospitals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap treat more than 2,000 children. Since its inception, the hospitals have saved the lives of more than 17 million children, according to its records.