Traversing The Path Of Stopping Child Abuse 

The French Charity Gala championed children all over the world, the event focused on giving children a brighter and safer future.

“Make It Iconic” is the global slogan being used by France this year to celebrate the daring French spirit, reaffirming how this spirit is made concrete in the arenas of tourism, gastronomy, culture, education, science, the economy, and infrastructure through innovation and strategic partnerships across different global concerns and initiatives.

Baby Steps: Traversing The Path Of Stopping Child Abuse 
Acclaimed French actress Emmanuelle Béart (center, fifth from left) with (second from left) SM Supermalls’ President Steven Tan, Ambassador of France to the Philippines Her Excellency Marie Fontanel, Cameleon Association founder Laurence Ligier, and SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation President and Chairman Elizabeth Sy with the members of the Cirquera de Cameleon troupe.

In the Philippines, we witnessed a stirring example of how such a partnership can resonate in a touching, emotional, and socially impactful manner when the Embassy of France, SM Supermalls, and a French Non-Governmental Organization operating in the Philippines, Cameleon Association, banded together for a special charity dinner.  

Baby Steps: Traversing The Path Of Stopping Child Abuse 
Nick Deocampo of the University of the Philippines (UP) Film Institute, Balai Palma chef Aaron Isip, Design Center of the Philippines Executive Director Rhea Matute, Emmanuelle Béart, Steven Tan, H.E. Ambassador Marie Fontanel, Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay, and Embassy of France Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs Marc Piton

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Purposeful Approach

Held at the Lanson Place, Mall of Asia, a charity dinner had several elements to highlight and recognize, but it was wonderful to note that the strongest spotlight of the night was reserved for Cameleon and its 26-year old struggle to develop a holistic approach to act on the causes of sexual violence and incest towards Filipino children and teenagers. Protected by a culture of silence and how it’s considered a taboo subject matter, Laurence Ligier, the founder of Cameleon, disclosed that one in five of children below 18 in the Philippines has experienced sexual violence during their upbringing – and this alarming data that also applies to France.

Baby Steps: Traversing The Path Of Stopping Child Abuse 
A heartwarming moment between Emmanuelle Béart and the members of the Cameleon troupe

Ligier is a French national who founded the organization to help young girl victims of incest and sexual abuse. Laurence recognized a need to help girl survivors of sexual abuse and after volunteering in the Philippines since she was 20 years old. She left her family and friends in France to start a non-governmental organization in Western Visayas Region VI (Panay, lloilo and Negros, Silay) in 1997 which she named Cameleon Association Inc., which aspires to a world without sexual violence.

Baby Steps: Traversing The Path Of Stopping Child Abuse 
Alain Fontanel and H. E. French Ambassador Marie Fontanel

That this evening was happening on the second day of the ongoing 26th French Film Festival at the SM Cinema of Mall of Asia and Megamall was so appropriate. Ambassador of France to the Philippines, Her Excellency Marie Fontanel, mentioned how one of the films being screened during the festival is the documentary “Un Silence Si Bruyant” (A Resounding Silence) that tackles this very taboo subject of incest in the context of contemporary French society. Directed by acclaimed French actress Emmanuelle Béart and Anastasia Mikova, Béart had flown to the Philippines to present her film and was the special guest of the night. The fact that this charitable event to benefit Cameleon was happening on the weekend of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children was just one more element of serendipity and how the stars had aligned to make this such a momentous occasion. Béart is an eight-time César Award nominee and the César Best Supporting Actress for the 1986 film “Manon des Sources”. She has France’s highest distinction, the rank of Chevalier in the Legion of Honour.

Baby Steps: Traversing The Path Of Stopping Child Abuse 
Karen Davila and Philippine Airlines President and COO Stanley Ng

Some of the girls in Ligier’s care performed as the “Cirquera de Cameleon” troupe, who were trained by France’s Cirque de Solaire and presented a heart-wrenching performance that highlighted child abuse. They later on shared a very heartwarming moment onstage with Béart, herself a victim as a minor.

Baby Steps: Traversing The Path Of Stopping Child Abuse 
SM Supermalls’ Joaquin San Agustin and Grace Magno, Millet Mananquil, Estee Lauder Philippines’ Sharyn Wong, Kai Lim

Cameleon is a non-stock, non-profit corporation registered with the SEC and is licensed and accredited by the DSWD. For those who wish to donate, please message (0907) 8112336 or email [email protected]. They will issue an official receipt and donor certificate duly received by the BIR. Check out www.cameleon-association.org .

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