Prime Minister Hun Sen launched the Kantha Bopha Foundation in Cambodia yesterday to support the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals, announcing that the fund has already received nearly $20 million in donations.
Speaking at the Peace Palace, Mr Hun Sen said the foundation received about $1.4 million in donations from 52 donors, including tycoons and ministers.
Mr Hun Sen added that the government, as founder and chair of the foundation, made an initial contribution of about $10 million as a reserve for the fund.
Tycoon Kith Meng also provided a land plot worth about $8 million, Mr Hun Sen added.
“We do not only want rich people contributing to the fund,” said Mr Hun Sen. “We also want contributions from our Cambodian people throughout the entire country, even just $1.25 per month.”
Mr Hun Sen said that if two million Cambodian people contributed $1.25 per month, the foundation would get $2.5 million per month.
“We do not force anyone to donate; it is a contribution to ensure the happiness, life and growth of children in Cambodia,” he said, noting the foundation will not replace the Kantha Bopha Foundation in Switzerland.
“The two foundations will operate in tandem and collaborate for the operation of the hospitals,” he said.
In July last year, Mr Hun Sen pledged to ensure the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals would continue to provide free services for patients, regardless of whether charitable funding from Switzerland continued or not.
The announcement came after Beat Richner, the founder and head of the hospital and a Health Ministry adviser, resigned from his position as managing director due to health problems in April.
In November, the Kantha Bopha hospitals celebrated their 25th anniversary, announcing they had treated almost 17 million children and pregnant women at a cost of $632 million since 1992.
The hospitals’ budgets come from various sources, including 4.7 percent from the government and 8.9 percent from the government of Switzerland. The remaining 86.6 percent comes from individual donors, primarily from Switzerland.
Denis Laurent, chief operations officer with Kantha Bopha, yesterday applauded the successful launch of the new foundation to aid the hospitals.
“We are happy for this foundation because it will help continue the dream and wish of Dr Beat Richner to help Cambodian children,” he said.
Mr Hun Sen also announced yesterday that he will donate $50,000 per year to the foundations, while the Cambodia Red Cross will donate $1 million per year.
Mr Hun Sen said that there are three types of foundation members, including founders, and honorary and supporting members.
He said that donors who contribute at least $20,000 will become founders, while donors of $5,000 will be honorary members and those who contribute $15 per year will be supporting members.
The premier added that portions of revenue from Angkor Wat ticket sales will also continue to be provided to the hospitals.
During the first 11 months of 2017, $4.3 million in donations were sent to the hospitals from ticket sales.