In Memory of Nuon Phaly

Cambodia — By on November 28, 2012 12:50 PM

I received very sad news today, an angel has passed away.

Madam Nuon Phaly, a Cambodian humanitarian and founder of Future Light Orphanage (FLO) has left this earth after a week of fighting for her life after being involved in a serious automobile accident. The accident occurred in Kampong Cham province, Tboung Khmom district, Sralop commune, where Phaly had been helping the many children in need at a smaller orphanage.  Her entire life was dedicated to helping children and my heart breaks for the hundreds of children she has been a mother to for years. She was loved by many and will be missed. The world truly is a better place because of her.

I had the pleasure of meeting this remarkable woman in 2008 when I volunteered at FLO, the orphanage she founded outside of Phenom Phen, Cambodia. My friend Nicole and I were even invited into her private home for dinner one evening in which Nuon Phaly told us much about her life. Her story told me how strong this gentle loving woman was and I don’t think I don’t know which was bigger … her resolve or her heart. I was inspired by her triumph through tragedy and unthinkable evil.

Nuon Phaly  was one of the millions of Cambodians that were ousted from their homes during the Pol Pot, Khmer Rouge Era. She and her family fled to a refugee camp on the Thai border where she lost her husband and all of her children to starvation. She spent nine years at the Thai refugee camp where she saw many women suffering from war induced depression. She co-founded the Khmer People Depression Relief, providing assistance to victims still suffering from post-traumatic stress.

In 1993 she returned to Cambodia with 8 women and 91 orphans and built her orphanage on her grandmothers land, located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Today FLO is home to over 200 children and an additional 150 children frequent the orphanage from a nearby village to receive supplemental education.

I remember why we named the orphanage Future Light. As my husband reminds me, there are many poor people in Cambodia, and none face a harder life than the orphans and the poor children. They have no hope for the future. We want the orphans to have future light, to have hope. So we will stay with them.

– Madam Nuon Phaly

You can read Madam Nuon Phaly’s remarkable story in her own words.

In the words of Rob Hail, founder of eGlobal Family, a nonprofit organization that has supported FLO for many years:

Phaly leaves behind a dedicated family and staff who wish to carry on her legacy as do all of us in eGlobal Family. I am confident that this will be done.  Our FLO children will continue to be nurtured and provided for as will the many others that will follow them into FLO’s embrace.  Phaly’s example and leadership will not be forgotten.  Her life and all the goodness she taught us will continue in us for generations to come.  Our world is such a better place thanks to this courageous woman.

We all love and miss you so much Phaly.  May you rest in peace.

Madam Nuon Phaly is the subject of  a documentary, Out of the Dark, which is currently being produced. The trailer can be viewed below.

Trailer: Out of the Dark from Jeff DePonte on Vimeo.

If you are inspired by Nuon Phaly’s story you can also help support the orphanage. You can make a donation through the eGlobalFamily website. There are many children at FLO that are in need of an eFosterParent. I am one myself and can attest that through the support of a yearly donation to your child and an email relationship you can greatly make a difference in a child’s life. I am thinking of you now Som Sreyleak. HUGS to you XOXO

Tags: , , , ,


  1. laurence Bilhon says:

    I’m very sad and can-t believe what happened to N. PHALY, I met her one time when we were in Phnom Penh 2 years ago and I was amazed by this great lady

  2. Jeff says:

    We need your help to make this film. If you’d like to help, plead donate at our website. Thanks!

  3. Jeff DePonte says:

    Please, we need your help to make this film. Make your tax-deductible donations at



  4. MARX Marie-Claire says:

    I’m very sorry to hear that Phaly passed away after a car accident. She became a good friend of mine after I met her for the first time more than 12 years ago. I have visited FLO last November. The staff told me about the accident.
    It was always a pleasure to visit the orphanage. Phaly was a good mother for all the children. They looked always happy. They will all miss Nuon Phaly.
    May she rest in peace.

  5. Nuon So Thero says:

    Thank you for the great article, and all the comments about my beloved mother, Nuon Phaly. We all miss her so much.

  6. Alison says:

    I am so so sorry to hear of this awful news. What an incredible loss to so many people and what an amazing job she did.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge