Vuthy Im is 23 and he loves his job. He likes his colleagues and the career he has chosen. On a good day, Vuthy gets to look at fashion models all day long: “Models are so beautiful and happy,” he says with a laugh.

Vuthy is part of a Photoshop operating team that works on optimizing images for Pixelz’ clients all over the world through its operations partner DDD (Digital Divide Data). When Pixelz needs a little extra help to meet their 24 hour turnaround time, the DDD team provides assistance.

But before this job, Vuthy did not even know what Photoshop was. He knew the word and that it made images beautiful, but that’s about it. Now, Vuthy is not only a master of changing backgrounds, resizing, creating shadows and other image processing tricks, but he is also fluent in English and a few months away from graduating from university with a degree in Economic Informatics.


Vuthy Im during a meeting with his colleagues.

Things had not always looked that bright for Vuthy. He grew up as the oldest in a family of six children in a rural area of Cambodia, 35 kilometers from Phnom Penh. His father was a motorcycle taxi driver and his mother raised the children and worked as a subsistence farmer. The family had to work very hard to send the children to school. It did not look like Vuthy would go to university—until he heard about DDD at a recruitment event at his high school.

DDD hires youth from low-income areas to perform Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) work, in order to train, employ, and educate youth for better jobs and greater opportunities in the future. Young people who are accepted into DDD’s program join for an initial training period, after which they are employed and have the opportunity to complete higher education while they gain work experience.

Vuthy joined in 2011. “They trained me on typing, Excel, Word, and how to work—business-like.” Since 2001, DDD’s program has increased lifetime earnings for youth in Cambodia, Laos, and Kenya by a projected total of more than US$300 million.

Pixelz also has a deep commitment to social impact, with an industry leading CSR policy focused on enabling employees to achieve better futures and become leaders. Pixelz’ team in Vietnam has been working closely with DDD staff in Cambodia, and today a team of photography editors in DDD’s Phnom Penh office adds capacity to Pixelz’ image editing production.

DDD’s clients range from brands such as Fossil, AOL, and Intuit to international organizations like the World Bank and UNICEF. DDD also works with academic institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, and Yale as well as the British Library and Reader’s Digest. DDD’s solutions include data and research services as well as image processing—like the work Vuthy is doing for Pixelz!

As for Vuthy, he plans to continue with a Master’s degree after he graduates in July 2016. He’s looking at programs in Cambodia and South Korea, where IT programs are very strong. If it was not for DDD and Pixelz, Vuthy is convinced, he would have been a subsistence farmer with a wife and children by the age of 20. Instead, he is excited to have the opportunity to learn and have a job he enjoys. His dream is to teach IT at the university. “I love the IT sector and I also love economics,” he says—and he can’t wait to share his passion with other talented youth all over Cambodia.