Phymean Noun was born in Cambodia and survived the cruel and inhumane Khmer Rouge regime. Tim Chhim was also born in Cambodia and survived the same cruel regime.
Tim interviewed Phymean, in Cambodian, for Journey To Success Radio.
Phymean is a Buddhist and was born in Cambodia in Kampong Cham province. As a young girl growing up during the Khmer Rouge era, she survived one of the worst genocides in the world's history only to lose her mother to cancer at the age of 15.
Phymean tried her hardest to survive, even though a lot of people had lost their hope, she still had a dream, a bleak hope.
At the age of 15, as an orphan living alone, she not only had to care for her self but also her 2 year old niece, as the rest of her family had died and her sister fled to refugee camps in Thailand.
Phymean struggled and fought her way to complete high school and earn enough money to take care of her niece and herself.
It was always her dream to help kids get access to school because she knew how hard it was when she was young to continue her education after her mom passed away.
That was something she just knew she would grow up to do. So in essence she is living her dream and that is coming back 100 fold to her now with a great husband and family, friends in all corners of the world, and a chance to get up and speak in front of others to inspire them to live their dreams.
Phymean’s mother had always taught her the importance of education and this lesson has resonated with her. For 12 years she worked for the United Nations and its agencies like ILO UNDP. During that time she saw a severe problem where education was denied to the poorest people of Cambodia. In 2002 she decided to resign from her last job to start the People Improvement Organization (PIO). She is now living her dream to help the poorest children in Cambodia.
Now, she has 3 schools and serves over 1300 children a day. She provides free education, food/ nutrition, clean water, hygiene, health care, shelter and vocational training to the underprivileged children and women. She started PIO back in 2002 and has worked for almost 13 years. She has been spending her savings and dedicating all her time to the kids and the families of some of the poorest communities in Cambodia. Without her help these children don't have a chance to go to school, especially the girls. If they don't have an education, it is easy for them to be trafficked or become slaves, and some time end up in life as a beer girl, working in nightclubs and brothels.
Her work was been recognized In 2008 when she was awarded a Top Ten Hero by CNN.
On February 25th, 2015 World’s Children’s Prize announced Phymean as a nominee for the Children's Nobel Prize in Sweden. The three nominees will attend the Award ceremony in October, 2015 present by Queen Silvia of Sweden.
On May 3rd, Phymean received the 2015 Special Outstanding Asia Award from the Canadian multicultural Council- Asians in Ontario.
Phymean was nominated for the Maya Ajmera Sustainability Award in 2015 by the Global Fund for Children for its innovation in the Vocational Training Program.