Don Bosco said “An oratory without music is like a body without a soul.” At Don Bosco School in Teuk Thla, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the students used music not only to enrich their school, but to also enrich the lives of their fellow students in Cambodia.
On May 28, 2016, the students of Don Bosco put on their first ever Charity Concert. The goal: to raise money for a poor school out in Kompang Cham Province  called Tuolvihear. The idea was first presented by a few 9th graders, but quickly the whole school was on board, being led by the students of the Choir and Band SYM groups. Beginning in January, students participated in all the necessary preparations. This included gathering donations, selling tickets, preparing their programs, making items to sell, and readying the entire campus to welcome the more than 800 people that would be attending the event. The students were not alone in their endeavors however, as the teachers, staff, parents, volunteers and Sisters were all working hard to assist in all that was necessary to make the concert a success. The whole school, from Kindergarten to High School and even the Food Technology and Hotel Services vocational program, was a buzz with excitement about the concert. Not only were they looking forward to the concert, but they knew that their mission was one full of value and it was going to be something that stayed with them forever. 

 The concert was a huge success in many ways. It was a 3-hour long event filled with many talented singers and dancers, the majority of whom were students and past pupils of Don Bosco! Even the Sisters got involved and sang a number at the end of the concert. The concert venue -the hall of the high school- was overflowing with people as all 800 available tickets had been sold, not to mention all of the performers, crew, teachers, and staff that were in attendance! When all was sung and done, the concert efforts had raised over $3,000.00! This included ticket sales, food sales, donations and the generosity of several international benefactors. This was far and beyond what was anticipated and simply meant that Don Bosco School was going to be able to do so much more for Tuolvihear School.
The money raised had originally been designated to assist in the building of 2 new toilets for the school. Up to this point there had been only 1 toilet for the teachers and 1 toilet for the 300 students! However, the fundraising efforts allowed Don Bosco School to go above and beyond simply the building of new toilets. The funds were also allocated to the painting of the walls in the classrooms, chairs and tables for the kindergarten, and plants and flowers for around the school building. On June 24, 2016 students, teachers, parents and Sisters of Don Bosco School trekked out to Tuolvihear School for a day of cleaning, planting, singing, dancing, and playing games.
On January 7, 2017, Tuolvihear inaugurated its new buildings, including 3 new classrooms that were sponsored by Singaporean benefactors; a new library sponsored by the organization Room to Read; and the new toilets sponsored by Don Bosco School. It was a beautiful day. Not only did Tuolvihear get to celebrate its new resources, but joy was shared among all in attendance knowing that education was being encouraged and assisted throughout the regions of Cambodia.

The beauty and power of this Charity Concert is that it was a project carried out by poor children of Cambodia for poor children of Cambodia, empowering each other and encouraging each other through education. Don Bosco envisioned education for all students, and I am sure he would be delighted to see that his vision was being realized by the students themselves. Thank you to all who made this event a reality, and may God continue to bless all the children of Cambodia through charity, faith and hope. 

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