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Lonh Neang, a 60-year-old retired school principal, was chosen by a three-judge panel on Saturday to receive the Smart Good Citizen Award for raising funds to make sure that poor children, and those whose parents have passed away, can stay in school. He also raises money to help his local community in Krang Yov commune, Sa Ang district, Kandal province.

Lonh Neang was up for the award alongside nine other finalists, has taken home the award and the cash prize of 10,000 USD.

Receiving his award, Lonh Neang said: “I am delighted (to win this award) – not (just) because of the grand prize or trophy, but because the good deeds I have done for 40 years during my teaching career have been recognized. My colleagues, teachers, local authorities, benefactors and other members of the community including Buddhist monks have helped me to achieve what I have done and have helped me to succeed in helping the poor students (in my community). They have all tried hard to help (me) raise funds so that we can focus on helping the poor students (who might feel the need to drop out of school). I would like to say thank you to (those involved with) the Smart Good Citizen Award for selecting me as the winner.”

The Smart Good Citizen Award is part of the company’s Rise Together campaign, which is intended to promote unity among Cambodians throughout the country amid these challenging times. It consists of a dedicated campaign video, a specially created theme song featuring Pleng artists, various CSR activities, and the Smart Good Citizen Award. The final award ceremony was broadcasted live on Facebook, with nominees joining the event from across Cambodia.

Speaking at the opening of the Smart Good Citizen Award event, Smart Axiata CEO Thomas Hundt said: “While we knew there would only be one recipient of the award when we started out on this journey in December last year, what we found along the way is that there are many Cambodians who are performing selfless acts of kindness to help those who need a helping hand in society, and this is what this award is all about – recognizing those who take it upon themselves to help others, especially during such challenging times.”

Lonh Neang was selected by a panel of three judges: Neang Phalla, Cambodia’s first teacher for the blind; Puy Kea, a respected local journalist; and Head of Human Resources at Smart Axiata, Teng Sophanna.

Speaking on behalf of the judges, well-respected local journalist Puy Kea said: “This Good Citizen Award will have a profound positive impact on society as a whole by highlighting the contribution of individuals who, despite their challenges, are still able to set a good example for others by doing good deeds. This award is especially significant because it sets a good example for today’s youth as well as those who are capable, resourceful and able to selflessly contribute more to our Khmer society.”

During the course of the six-month competition, nominators were only allowed to nominate one person and were asked to provide the contact details of the nominee as well as a brief description of the deed that the person was being nominated for. Hundreds of Cambodians nominated someone who they felt had done or was doing a good deed.

The nominees who stood out the most were contacted by the organizers to find out more about their background as well as the deed that they had been nominated for. The organizers then posted stories of the nominees on social media.

The campaign also included the Smart Good Citizen People’s Choice Award, which was decided based on the votes by the Cambodian public.

This year’s Smart Axiata Good Citizen’s People’s Choice Award was won by Soeurng Sothary who was awarded a USD $1000 prize.

Soeurng Sothary won the People’s Choice Award because of her work helping to promote the protection of the environment by organizing rubbish collection and creating eco-friendly bins from old tires. She was also instrumental in helping to solve disputes in her community and helping the elderly

Smart Axiata’s Rise Together campaign was launched on November 23, 2020 with the release of the Rise Together campaign video.

For more information, follow the Smart Axiata Facebook page at or visit

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