Project Phala


In the remote Koh Kong region of Cambodia, coastal communities are being forced to change the way they make a living as the slow onset of climate change.

Droughts, floods and wind storms are making these villages incredibly vulnerable. Mangrove forests that used to act as barriers to storms have been stripped bare, making the community even more vulnerable to the increasing number of violent storms.

The past decade has seen the hottest, wettest and stormiest weather for the past 100 years. The rice planting cycles are skewed. The fish spawning cycles are out of sync. The community has already had to move it’s location many times as the sea rises violently and incessantly.

Climate change has cast a dark net of uncertainty on the entire region. Constantly assailed by disasters, the people here are exasperated because of the constant, chaotic changes in weather patterns. They eat what they catch but that catch is getting infrequent and smaller. They sell what they grow.

Read Phala’s story

Phala is 13. She’s the top student in her class at school in Boeung Kachang village and loves reading and maths. It’s common for her to skip games sessions just to keep reading in the library at the school. She wants to be a doctor, but her father isn’t sure if he can pay for her education as unpredictable weather is affecting his livelihood. During her short life Phala has seen many storms and flash floods, but it’s not the thunder and the lightning that frighten her. It’s the fact that her father won’t be able to go out fishing and her family will go hungry. Worse yet, is the fear that Phala won’t be able to go to school.

If it does not rain soon, life is going to be very hard. The biggest victims are the children. A drop in fishing and farming production translates directly to a drop in school attendance rates. It’s simple.

Sem Sey Ha, Koh Andet primary school principal

Mangroves protect us from floods, provide us with oxygen and are important for breeding fish. But the best thing about them is that they protect us from climate change.

Mina, friend

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I really want to see Phala fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor. I don’t want her to end up working in a garment factory in the city.

Nuch Nal, father

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I have never seen or met a real doctor but I have watched the village health worker treat sick people. I want to be able to give free medical treatment to everyone in this village.

Lee, neighbour

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We have a solution

Helping coastal communities to manage the effects of climate change is at the heart of our work in Cambodia. It’s important so that Phala and her friends can keep going to school and not worry about where their next meals are coming from.

Chanthy in front of classroom blackboard

Safer and smarter schools

Teachers at Phala’s school are introducing emergency plans so the children know what to do when disaster strikes.

Stronger communities

The community has mapped out the natural hazards that will pose the biggest threats to its villages. Early warning systems have been designed and put in place.

Better futures

We are working with families like Phala’s to help them come up with other ways of making a living, as climate change affects the traditional methods of farming and fishing.

Keeping children safe

Most girls who leave primary school are sent to Koh Kong city to work in garment factories, which makes them immediately vulnerable to exploitation.

Will you help?

The choice you make right now can help change their lives. In a few years, without your help, it will be too late for children like Phala.

Thanks to our supporters we are changing the lives of children in some of the most vulnerable areas of Cambodia


households have learned about how to be safe in a disaster


schools have set up safer emergency procedures


children are learning about their local environment and how to be active learners


villages have mapped the hazards they need to watch out for in their communities

Giving in action

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Nuch Nal

Nuch Nal is originally from Prey Veng province in Cambodia. He moved to Koh Kong province when he was 15, as his parents were seeking a better life.

Cambodia | Asia | Project Phala

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Mina has always been the top student in her class, but has recently slipped to second place in monthly tests because “there is another smart girl in her class” she says with a twinkle in her eye.

Cambodia | Asia | Project Phala

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Kri is 12 and loves his drawing class at school. He draws a forest of mangroves with fish and crabs swimming and then he draws how cutting mangroves and forests down will lead to erosion and floods and kill children, destroy fishing nets and houses.

Cambodia | Asia | Project Phala

Our work isn’t done yet

Your donation helps to save children like Phala. We can help families to develop new ways to support themselves and help communities to be prepared when disaster strikes. Your support will make a big difference to Phala’s life.

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