October 9th, 2008
11:25 AM ET

CNN HERO: 'I was so excited. I couldn't sleep'

Program Note: CNN Heroes received nearly four thousand submissions from 75 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year, and over 1 million of you voted for your CNN HERO OF THE YEAR

A Global Celebration: Thanksgiving Night at 9p ET


Phymean Noun offers children who work in Phnom Penh's trash dump a way out through free schooling and job training.
Phymean Noun offers children who work in Phnom Penh's trash dump a way out through free schooling and job training.

Phymean Noun | MY STORY

Thank you very much! I am thrilled and I cant believe that I have been selected as one of CNN's Top Heroes of 2008. I am happy to share my feelings with you and to the world.

When I first found out that I was one of CNN's Top Heroes of 2008, I could not believe it. I was so excited. I couldn't sleep... I would keep waking up and would think about my mother who inspired me and taught me. I wished that I could share this big news with her.

My tears came out.... and then I can't stop thinking about children in Cambodia and what all this means to them and their future, also thinking about my trip to LA, what will I say for my speech, what are people going to ask me, who I am going to meet on that day and of course what I am going to wear?

I am so grateful that CNN has dedicated time to profile people like me doing important work for others. Sometimes I work and I have great difficulty in raising funds and finding donors and supporters.

Since CNN has aired my profile so many viewers were touched to see the suffering of the children, they decided to do something and directly supported my organization.

I can say that CNN Heroes is an important program that gives voice to all the people that are doing selfless work in the world. By bringing the power of CNN viewers together with people who are continually doing selfless work in the world can indeed make a difference in the world.

On behalf of the PIO's children and staff thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Want to do something? IMPACT YOUR WORLD

Filed under: CNN Heroes
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Souden

    All children living on those dump are very dangerous. Its an amazing job for her that collected the children to her place and provide them knowledge .its so much of humanity. I am so happy for her nomination for the hero 2008 of CNN . Hope she will become the hero 2008 to let her increase her organization and collect more kids from everywhere around Cambodia.

    November 8, 2008 at 10:11 pm |
  2. Nicole

    I spent time in Cambodia this past year and was so sad to see the children begging me to buy their items. Some of the children were incredibly smart- counting to ten in every language my friends and I could think of! It's so sad to see such amazing potential and to know that their future will always be begging tourists for money. Thank you for working to help the children in Cambodia!

    October 31, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  3. Eric - Michigan

    I was thrilled to see your nomination, Ms. Noun.

    Last year, I traveled to Phnom Penh to video document an NGO that works in Cambodia – both within the capital and several rural areas. Upon arriving, we were soon brought to the dump. The first thing that hits you is the smell, of course, and then the millions of flies - but it is all quickly replaced by the thousands of faces of the people "working" in the dump. We were told about the gangs and the hierarchy of the dump; we were told about the sicknesses; we saw the plight and despair of these parents and children.

    For someone to dedicate their self to helping these people find hope is praise worthy and not something I can completely articulate in words. I had just an afternoon there but it has impacted me to this day.

    Your nomination is more than worthy.


    October 31, 2008 at 9:47 am |
  4. Bunkong

    I was surprised to hear about your nomination, and I am proud of what your organization and you have been doing for the prosperity of Cambodian children. It is now the time to tell the world more about your work. Congratulation!

    October 14, 2008 at 9:23 pm |
  5. Cheryl - Fonthill, Canada

    Congratulations on your nomination. Several years ago my husband and I travelled for 3 months throughout southeast Asia including Cambodia and we fell in love with your country.
    The people we met were so friendly but I will never forget the children – they always had a big smile and were so happy to meet us.
    For as long as I live I will always have the memory of the little boy who lived at the guesthouse we were staying at – the little boy was probably around 4-5 years old, running around most of the time with just a pair of shorts on but he was always smiling and happy to see us. His only toy was a "car" someone had made for him out of a plastic bottle as the body and 4 tin cans for the wheels. He had a great time with that little car.
    At that time, I had not yet had my own children, but this little guy made such an impression on me that I will carry the vision of him and his little car with me for all my life. Now that I have my own children, the same age as he was the time I met him, I often tell my two boys the story of that little boy and his "car". I have even showed them the picture I have of him.
    I commend you Ms Noun for all that you have done and continue to due for the beautiful children of Cambodia.


    October 9, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  6. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Bless you! Your work with those desperate children will be rewarded by our loving God!

    October 9, 2008 at 12:48 pm |

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