Phymean Noun
Phymean Noun

Phymean Noun grew up during the genocide in Cambodia. Today, she fights for the rights of vulnerable children, especially their right to an education.

Phymean Noun received the World’s Children’s Prize 2015.

The challenge

In Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, many poor children live and work on rubbish tips and in slum areas. They don’t go to school, and instead risk their lives and health by collecting rubbish in order to survive. Many have been injured, and even killed, when they were run over by rubbish trucks or buried in the mountain of rubbish.

The work

Phymean and her organisation, People’s Improvement Organisation (PIO), make sure that vulnerable children, including children affected by HIV/Aids, get to go to school and have their basic needs met. Over a thousand children are given an education, food, clean water and health care. They are encouraged to dream and to develop their interests.


Since 2002, more than 5,000 vulnerable children have been given a better life through Phymean and PIO, who see education as a way out of poverty. Today the organisation runs three of its own schools and a children’s home, where orphaned and abandoned children can grow up in a safe environment.


Goal 1: No poverty. Goal 2: Zero hunger. Goal 3: Good health and well-being. Goal 4: Quality education. Goal 10: Reduced inequalities. Goal 11: Sustainable communities.

Learn more about Phymean in the Globe

Children are older today! These stories are from 2015, thus, the children are older today.


With her organ­ization, People Improvement Organization (PIO), she has built three schools and children’s homes next to the garbage dumps and slums. Over a thousand children go to school there, and get food, water and healthcare. PIO also provides vocational training and support to families.

Phymean and PIO want to

• Help children find their dreams: Many of the children on the garbage dump don’t have faith in the future. At school, Phymean and the teachers encourage the children to have dreams and to develop their interests. 

• Give children hope: By seeing the children’s progress and creating opportunities for them to display their talents, Phymean and the teachers show that the children’s situations can change. 

• Give children love they can depend upon: Phymean and PIO stay in touch with the children for many years. “They are like my own children,” says Phymean. “I want to see them be successful and happy.”

People Improvement Organization’s work for children

• Three schools at the old garbage dump and in the Phnom Penh slums.

• Education in Khmer and English, focusing on languages and IT.

• A children’s home, where orphaned and abandoned children can grow up in a safe environment.

• Support for families so that they can send their children, especially their daughters, to school. 

• Clean water for all the children in the school, and the children and adults in the area. 

• Vocational training for teenagers, for example, in hairdressing or tailoring.

• Access to nurses, doctors and dentists.



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