12 January 2015
Thank you to all of our supporters for your patience as we continued to investigate the situation in Cambodia regarding The Somaly Mam Foundation and our beneficiary partners AFESIP Cambodia (AFESIP).
By way of brief background, AFESIP ran three centres in Cambodia, housing 155 women and girls and also provided training, education and psychological support and employed over a hundred staff. The organisation also operated a free clinic for women in Phnom Penh who needed medical check ups and supplies, an outreach program to various areas in Phnom Penh where brothels are rife and their reintegration program had 502 active cases. AFESIP also had in place advocacy initiatives with various schools, government and community groups. Project Futures has a long standing relationship with AFESIP and is a proud supporter of the good works it does to help many at risk women.
On 12 June 2014, AFESIP’s largest donor USA based Somaly Mam Foundation advised it was ceasing all funding to them without notice or adequate explanation putting their programs at risk. PROJECT FUTURES has provided important funding to AFESIP over this period to ensure minimal disruption to the work happening on the ground in Cambodia.
In December 2014 a PROJECT FUTURES Board Member, Dr David Cooke and I traveled to Cambodia to better understand AFESIP’s vision and plans moving forward into 2015. We met with representatives from AFESIP and also other supporters from the USA to discuss and ensure the sustainability and success of the organization moving forward.
The outcome will be that AFESIP will continue as an organisation but will rebrand itself and be called The New Somaly Mam Fund – Voices for Change. A new entity with the same name has been registered in the United States to galvanize supporters and donors who are passionate about Somaly Mam and her work. Despite the negative publicity and questionable actions of the Somaly Mam Foundation organisation, Somaly has stood by her story which was also independently investigated and reported by Marie Clare.
The New Somaly Mam Fund – Voices for Change will therefore operate in two locations, Cambodia (previously AFESIP) and in the USA. As noted, the US entity will seek to raise funds and awareness for the projects on the ground. The Cambodian arm of the organisation will continue to run programs in Cambodia. With the exception of the scaled down operations necessitated by the funding shortage, the work previously undertaken by AFESIP will only change slightly with rescue being taken out of their scope of programs and instead focusing on rehabilitation, training and education that will lead to self – independence. You can download the business plan here:
We can confirm that PROJECT FUTURES will continue to remain a financial donor and supporter of The New Somaly Mam Fund – Voices for ChangeCambodia entity. We will work together with them to ensure funds are spent the right way and that our donors and supporters have appropriate reporting. Our Board is adamant that all funds directed to the new charity go to the Cambodian organization to ensure that donations go to support the life-changing programs actually run on the ground.
PROJECT FUTURES will continue to ensure, through due diligence and vigilance, that your donations go to the places where it will have the most impact for the victims of this crime against human rights. We are an organization that prides itself on integrity, honesty and transparency in our dealings with our donors, other stakeholders and the charities and organizations we support. We trust we will continue to receive your support to assist us do so.
CEO, PROJECT FUTURES Ltd