Seeking to improve community engagement through sport and education initiatives, as part of its corporate social responsibility obligations, Smart Axiata yesterday announced a four-year partnership with NGO Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) for the running of a socio-sports school at Phnom Penh’s Steung Meanchey district.
The socio-sports school in Phnom Penh, initiated by the non-profit Real Madrid Foundation (RMF), aspires to promote sports among children and youths, while providing comprehensive character development.
“Considering that community sports is one of Smart’s key corporate social responsibility pillars, we have common ground between all partners to build a brighter future for young Cambodians. We also decided to additionally sponsor a football pitch to enhance the experience of students going through the programme,” said Thomas Hundt, Smart’s CEO.
“We are pleased to announce this partnership as part of our portfolio of sports for development programmes, which is a very powerful tool to promote education amongst young talent in Cambodia,” added Mr Hundt.
According to Smart more than 900 youths are expected to benefit from this initiative.
“They will not only learn how to play football, but also internalise values like team spirit and solidarity as well as healthy lifestyle habits,” stated the mobile company’s press release.
Borithy Lun, PSE general manager, welcomed the new direction for the school, acknowledging the strengths of both key partners.
“As host of the launch event and on behalf of PSE children and our founders, we are excited to begin this partnership of the socio-sports school, guided by the generous contribution and noble support from Smart and RMF,” she said.
“With this tripartite alliance, I believe that we will be able to accelerate our efforts to help underprivileged children become integrated citizens in Cambodia.”
Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron congratulated all parties for their commitment to bring positive change to the lives of young Cambodians through education, social-skills and sports.
“I am thrilled that both Smart and PSE, who have been creating a strong impact in society, have decided to partner on this new initiative,” said Mr Naron.
“Hundreds of children yearly will now be empowered with better education, values and life skills – many of whom would never have dreamt of such an opportunity,” he added.
Rosa Roncal, RMF’s international manager, said the foundation would provide world-class training for the socio-sports school.
“The shared goals are clear – sport, skill and social development. In the spirit of RMF’s social sports school model, children aged 6 to 17, regardless of gender, have the golden opportunity to undergo training and study without financial burden.
“Enrollment selection is not based on athletic criteria, but rather the prioritisation of those from disadvantaged socio-economic conditions,” Ms Roncal added.
The Real Madrid Foundation helps run 47 socio-sporting football schools in Spain, where some 5,000 boys and girls in are educated in weekly training sessions.