Meet Our Team of Dedicated Professionals, Passionate About Helping Girls Shine.
Free To Shine’s highly skilled and driven Cambodia and Australia based team are dedicated to keeping girls safe and empowered through education. We strive for a gender balance within our team and model gender equity both in the office and in the field.
We know that investing in our team’s growth and skill development is key to ensuring we are maintaining high standards and following best practice in our work. We support the ongoing professional development of our team by subsidising tuition for degrees relevant to our work and through partner trainings. Scroll down to meet the team and see the amazing people who make our work happen!
Managing Director & Co-founder, Board Member
As an educator, coach, and adventurer, Nicky Mih is passionate about inspiring people to learn, achieve, and make a difference in the world. In 2009 Nicky spent a month volunteering with more than 200 girls rescued from sex slavery in Cambodia, an experience which profoundly challenged her and led to the creation of Free To Shine.
Director & Co-founder, Board Member
Kylie Anderson is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand and is the Director of RJS Accounting Services Pty Ltd. She has extensive experience in the growth and development of business services, auditing, and tax compliance. Passionate about life and her work, with a lifelong commitment to helping children strive through adversity, in 2010 when the opportunity came to join Nicky in founding Free To Shine Kylie jumped at the chance to take an active role.
Georgia is a Studio Manager with a Diploma of International Development which fuelled her passion to empower women and girls and alleviate poverty through a preventative approach. She has worked and volunteered at multiple international NGOs and has been a volunteer with Free To Shine since 2013, coordinating volunteers and fundraising activity. Georgia is committed to creating positive, lasting change in Cambodia.
Board Member and Administrative Assistant to the MD
Sharon is a long-term supporter of Free To Shine, who joined our team because she loves what we do and what we stand for! Sharon previously worked in federal and state government agencies for over 30 years, mainly in welfare programs supporting marginalised communities. Continuing her commitment to helping others and making a meaningful impact, she now uses her administration and management skills, to support Nicky and the team in our mission to prevent the trafficking of girls.
Sophanit was born and raised in Siem Reap and she earned her MBA from Build Bright University 2009. She has a number of years of experiences working with NGOs in the areas of education and community development. She is a big believer in the power of education as a tool to fight against poverty. Sophanit loves working with students, their families, and community and making change happen at the grassroots level. She is excited to be part of the Free to Shine as she believes deeply in the power of young girls to realise their dreams and reach their full potential.
Finance & Administration Officer
Thavuth was born in Prey Chrouk, Puok district Siem Reap. He received an MBA from Build Bright University in 2013 and then worked in both NGOs and service provider in the private sector. Thavuth has also worked as a part time lecturer at the university. His dream is to see everybody educated with higher education in order to improve their lives. Girls education is important to Thavuth as he sees how it can improve their opportunities to get a high income job and improve their living situation and that of their family. Thavuth loves to work and share knowledge with people and is excited to be a part of protecting girls and helping them to get an education. He wishes every child, especially from remote areas, could get the protection and education they need to strengthen their ability to find work and provide for their family.
Women in Leadership Officer
When she was in grade 4, Kunthea was selected to study at Jay Pritzker Academy, a school run by an International NGO that provides an extremely high level education, with a particular emphasis on the English Language. Coming from a small farming family, this was a golden opportunity for Kunthea. “I knew that English would change my life for the better, being a language that is spoken all over the world,” she says. This positive outlook later led Kunthea to study Teaching English as a Second Language at University, as she believes “studying English will provide me with lots of opportunity to help my community and give access to education to my people.” Kunthea says that, “Educated academically, and as a girl who has been helped by an NGO, I have the same heart as Free To Shine that all girls should be in schools and empowered with an education to prevent sex trafficking. I want to share my experience and continue helping children who cannot help themselves. I believe that women are not only born to marry, to serve men and give birth, but they can do things for their countries that is beyond what men could think of.”
Kongkea grew up in Siem Reap province, later moving away to complete a degree in Psychology from the Royal University of Phnom Penh and begin her career. Whilst at university, she volunteered with the Khmer Youth Association on a drug prevention program, following that with a position as a social worker and counselor at Garden of Hope Cambodia where she worked with underage survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking. Kongkea’s strength and professionalism are an asset to Free To Shine and she says that “because of my experience working with people in the community, especially in the rural areas, I want to see young girls receive an education so they can protect themselves from traffickers. Education is so important, it teaches them to think critically so they can have a better life in the future. I want to see all people in Cambodia understand the importance of education, and understand how it can protect their children from bad situations.”
Bona has recently graduated from university with a degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. He chose this degree because his father once told him, “When you study this subject, it will help you in the future because our country will not stay still and we won’t use only one language; so choose to speak two”. Bona dreams of one day becoming an English teacher, “I’ve seen when I visit some villages, most of the rural students are still poor at foreign languages, especially English. Therefore, I want to help them to get the same knowledge that I have experienced. Moreover, it’s very easy for girls to get cheated by bad people if they are not educated. Through learning from books or teachers, they will know how to protect themselves from someone who wants to do bad things to them. I want my country to be more developed than now. Mostly, I want to see all of the girls in Cambodia get an education, in both rural and urban areas.”
Daron comes to Free To Shine with a degree in Community Development. After finishing his degree, he spent ten months studying advanced agriculture at the International Center for Agriculture Training in Israel. This is Daron’s first experience working for an NGO, but he is determined to try his best. Daron says. “Girls will never be happy if they have to depend on a man for everything. I know that girls have the ability to lead their own lives and have potential to achieve all their goals. Cambodia needs more educated people to develop, including girls. We must all try to be good citizens of the world, good students, good children and good role models for one another.”
Chanda grew up thirty minutes outside of Siem Reap. In 2015 she graduated from high school and began studying law at university. She believes “it is important that people in Cambodia know and understand how laws should be used.” Soon after, she began working at Free To Shine as an Education Officer. In her words, "I wanted to work at FTS is because I want to help poor children gain knowledge and escape from various abuses." This year Chanda was proud to graduate with her bachelor degree and looks forward to using her knowledge in her role at Free To Shine. Chanda says, “I am really pleased to work at Free To Shine because I can provide girls with care and safety by visiting them every month. I can learn about the problems they face and I am happy to be involved to help them calmly solve their problems."
Vannit grew up with his grandparents in Srey Smom district, Siem Reap. In 2016 he graduated from high school and was selected by PEPY to receive a scholarship and chose to study Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) at Pannasastra University. In Vannit’s mind, receiving a scholarship to study “gave me a new life. In secondary school and high school, I used to work on the border between Thailand and Cambodia. Nowadays, my mother, my uncle, and my aunt all work in Thailand. If I had not passed the scholarship application, I 100% would have gone to work in Thailand.” He is excited to work at Free To Shine because he wants all children in Cambodia to be able to achieve a high level of education like he was able to. He envisions a future where girls have equal access to education, women are working within the Cambodian government, and all Cambodians have a high standard of living. In addition to attending university and working at Free To Shine, Vannit loves to volunteer within his community, helping others by doing things like teaching and planting trees. Doing these things helps him to achieve his main goal in life: “Make people around you smile if you want happiness.”
Vantine is from Puk District and the second Free To Shine beneficiary to transition into being a Free To Shine team member! She graduated high school in 2016 and went on to study law at the University of South East Asia in Siem Reap, while also volunteering with Free To Shine to help facilitate our Community Trainings. Vantine’s dream for the future is to be a lawyer so she can help others within her community. She believes that girls are strong and that providing access to education for girls is very important. Girls are one of the most vulnerable groups to traffickers, so her hope is to eliminate vulnerability to trafficking for girls living in the remote villages, and for all children. She would like to see Cambodia expanding in all sectors, especially through the elimination of poverty, ending the sexual exploitation of children, and ensuring gender equality.
Cheat is from Pouk District and is a beneficiary of Free To Shine. She graduated from high school in 2018 and was selected by Free To Shine for a scholarship to study bachelor degree at South East Asia University in Siem Reap. Cheat chose to study management because her dream is to become a manager and a good leader in the future. Cheat has a passion in helping others. "I joined Free To Shine because I want to take this opportunity to use my skills and knowledge to contribute to the community. I want to help people who are living in extreme poverty, and I believe that girls are powerful. Girls are vulnerable to trafficking, especially those living in rural areas. So, if we want to develop Cambodia, we have to end poverty and human trafficking and to empower children, especially girls to high education and gender equity.”
Intern Education Officer
Chenda, our second Intern, is from Pouk District and is a beneficiary of Free To Shine. She graduated from high school in 2019 and then received a funded University place from Free To Shine. Currently, she is studying in year three majoring in law. “I was hoping to share my skills and knowledge about the law with my neighbours, family and community because most of them do not understand much about the legal system. I want to work with Free To Shine to help girls who live in rural areas. I want to see them get educated as it is very important that they can protect themselves from being trafficked. I believe education and empowerment can reduce poverty and exploitation.”
Sharing the same view that girls’ education is key to a better quality of life for them, Visalh volunteered at Free To Shine for three months before becoming a staff member of the dynamic team in August 2023. Visalh is our AMISS facilitator, working toward improved access to education and safety for girls. Visalh has devoted most of his career and life advocating for equal access to the fundamental rights of youth through public awareness raising, education and empowerment. Prior to joining Free To Shine, he had worked for and engaged with non-profit organisations such as Transparency International Cambodia, and private businesses such as Chip Mong Group Co, Ltd.. Visalh has a wide range of support skills including HR, admin, procurement, finance, communications, grants and project management. Visalh holds a bachelor’s degree from the Institute of Foreign Languages – a prominent languages institute in Cambodia.