A Father In Cambodia Wove A Backpack For His Son To Save Money

A series of photos went viral on Facebook the day after Father’s Day and the man featured deserves some serious praise. The post was about a man’s creative school bag design for his son, but also served as a reminder to many about how lucky they are in their communities.

Children in countries such as Cambodia don’t always have access to money for school supplies like those in North America might, but this father’s inventive solution showed us how important the value of education can be…

The Inspiration Behind The Bag

NY Keng wearing backpack
Photo Credit: Facebook / Sophous Suon

Cambodian school teacher Sophous Suon has shared photos online that have now gone viral after noticing a student’s unique backpack. Five-year-old NY Keng’s father, rather than spending money on a new backpack, made the creative choice to weave a backpack for the boy out of raffia string.

Keng’s father works as a farmer and decided to that instead of spending the money on a new bag, he would weave a bag and save the money for other essentials.

Lack Of Resources

woven backpack raffia string
Photo Credit: Facebook / Sophous Suon

Suon said in an interview that backpacks in her area typically cost around 30,000 riels ($7) but even that can be a struggle for many parents near the school.

For the Keng family, it wasn’t that the backpack was too expensive for them. Keng’s father works as a farmer and he simply decided the money could better be used elsewhere, and he had the resources to create a fully functional bag for his son, so that was the best option for them.

Online Response

inside of backpack with books
Photo Credit: Facebook / Sophous Suon

Upon sharing the photos on Facebook, Suon’s post received an outpouring of support for the father’s ingenuity and dedication to his family. Suon also said in an interview that people online have offered to buy a backpack for the boy, claiming that “foreigners asked for contact to send him the bags and my school leader already send his contact for them.”

The post has been shared from Suon’s page over 6K times and has been featured on many news outlets across the world.

The Design

NY Keng backpack straps
Photo Credit: Facebook / Sophous Suon

The backpack was fully functional with a front flap, buckle, and two straps for carrying properly. Photos show the backpack was sturdy enough to hold several school books, and it seems to be a decent size. The straps themselves were also adjustable so that NY Keng can continue to use it as he grows.

All it took was some leftover raffia string, a backpack buckle, and two straps, all of which Keng’s father had already.

Support For The Whole Class

NY Keng with backpack and class
Photo Credit: Facebook / Sophous Suon

Users online pointed out that the decision to use raffia string was also a great choice for a backpack in terms of keeping it clean. The raffia material would be easy to clean off if the bag was dirty, and would likely be easy to waterproof if they wanted to.

Other commenters were also asking if there was a link where they could make donations to go towards not just NY Keng, but also to other children in the school whose families may need help with buying school supplies.