Phymean Noun, who turned garbage dumps into knowledge hubs for the children of Cambodia

One fine afternoon, she was having her lunch by the riverside in Cambodia’s capital city. She experienced something unusual that day, for which she was not prepared at all. Having done with her lunch, Phymean Noun tossed her chicken bones into the junk yard. Few seconds later what she noticed that left her incoherent with horror. She saw some street children fighting over the food she dumped, to reclaim their ownership over it. She was seeing them trying to suck the bones and relish the remnants stuck to the bones. She called them out, asked them to sit with her and bought them food.


The day was gone but she could not stop thinking about the plights of those poor kids. She started meditating an amicable way to resolve the problem. And finally one day Phymean Noun resigned from her job and started an organization called People Improvement Organization (PIO).

PIO opened their first school at Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Stung Mean Centre, a municipal garbage dump of the city was found suitable to open a school in it, where children came regularly to work. [pullquote-left]Currently, PIO is providing their services to more than 1000 children from their 3 outreach centres[/pullquote-left]Today, the organization (PIO) serves over 1000 children per day by providing free education, basic health care, clean water, nutritional and vocational training support to improve family’s awareness residing near the educational centres. They are also dedicated towards the service of providing better educational facilities and skills needed to survive in life for an orphan and vulnerable children (OVC).

CNN Heroes Cambodia – Phymean Noun

Phymean Noun herself had seen a time of hardship at her tender age. At the time she was just 15 she lost her mother to Cancer. Due to political insurgencies many of her family members were killed, rest fled to refugee camps in Thailand. And she was left alone with all the burdens and responsibilities of her 3 years old niece.

Phymean Noun, a CNN hero award winner proudly can claim today that despite being lived a very tough life, she did not succumb to the situation and continued her education. This inspirational story about her sincere dedication towards this noble cause has made her a hero; a hero, who illuminates other’s life with a shimmering light of hope.

Following the increasing demand for more seats every year at PIO, the major goal of the organization for 2014 is to expand their school infrastructure at Stung Mean Chey Outreach Centre. For information on PIO’s future activities or to support the organization, please visit the official website of People Improvement Organization or contact Phymean Noun directly at [email protected].

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1 Response

  1. Swathi Prakash says:

    God bless this noble soul.