Cambodian Charity Wins International Award for Outstanding Work

Local Cambodian charity Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), which rescues and rehabilitates victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation, is to receive a 2015 Stars Impact Award.

The sexual exploitation of children is a serious issue facing Cambodia. Studies show that 6.1 percent of Cambodian children have reported being forced to have sex at least once in their lifetime. Social stigma surrounding the issue means many more cases go unreported.

Cambodia’s civil war left social, political and economic devastation in its wake.  While the last decades have seen progress being made on reducing poverty and improving education, the protection of children’s rights remains inadequate.

Girls and boys face the threat of child sexual abuse on the streets, in institutions meant to protect them – such as schools or orphanages – or online.

APLE was founded in Phnom Penh in 2003 to support victims of sexual abuse and its Investigation Team – spread across Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and Battambang – assists police in tracking down offenders and rescuing victims thanks to a network of trusted informants.

Once rescued, victims receive pro-bono legal aid as APLE helps them navigate the intimidating justice system.

It also offers victims social support and assistance to re-enter education and begin the process of rehabilitation.

Since its foundation, APLE has rescued 746 victims of sexual abuse, and trained 10,698 individuals in how to handle such challenging and sensitive cases, and 251 successful convictions were secured.

Muna Wehbe, CEO of Stars Foundation – “Once again this year's Impact Award winners have demonstrated exceptional work in responding to the needs of children, and in the strength of their institutional and management practices.

Flexible funding allows these well-managed locally-led organisations to determine where their award funding can be best spent in order to bolster the important work that they do. We are delighted to be awarding in such a broad range of countries this year, with awardees drawn from as many as 12 countries.”

As part of the prize package, APLE will receive US$50,000 of flexible funding and capacity building support.

This year, Stars is awarding 24 organisations from countries ranging from Colombia to Iraq for their work with disadvantaged children.

Representatives from each local charity will take the stage at the Philanthropreneurship Forum, entitled “The New Frontiers of Philanthropy” which will be held at the Palais des Congrès de Versailles, Paris, on 12 December.

Notes to Editors:

Photography, interviews and case studies available on request. For further information, please contact:

Emma Tallamy, email:, +44 870 334 9000, +44 7786 078 799.
Angie Windle, email, +44 870 334 9000, +44 7734 867 139.

  • Stars Foundation recognises and rewards outstanding local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to improve the wellbeing and life chances of children in the countries with the highest rates of under-five mortality.
  • Founded by Al-Dabbagh Group in 2001 and registered as an independent charity in England & Wales, Stars Foundation is a philanthropic foundation that invests in organisations and ideas to help transform the lives of disadvantaged children and their communities globally
  • To date, across all programmes, Stars Foundation has awarded 127 organisations in 53 countries, reaching over 4,928,000 people.
  • Winners of the flagship Impact Awards receive US$50,000 in flexible funding in addition to capacity building support.
  • Impact Awards will be given out across three geographic regions – Africa-Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America-Caribbean.
  • In total Stars Foundation received Expressions of Interest from 115 organisations.
  • Twenty-four Award winners were chosen across three regions.
  • Between them, the 2015 Stars Impact Award recipients reached more than 674,000 people last year.
  • The Philanthropreneurship Forum is a global initiative that connects, empowers and inspires leaders from philanthropy, civil society, academia, business and governments to foster innovation and encourage collaboration.
  • The Stars Impact Awards are underpinned by a rigorous selection process developed with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Photography credited to Kimlong Meng/Stars Foundation.

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