Birth of CAMELEON Association
Our History started when Laurence Ligier was 25 years old, in 1997, when she founded the CAMELEON Association in the Philippines with Ellien REGONDON. Since then, she has not stopped fighting for the success of her association, and guides it as it grows.
At 20, with the desire to be useful and give meaning to her life, Laurence Ligier took off to the Philippines to join a humanitarian mission organized by the Comité Enfance Philippines (Children’s Committee Philippines). In parallel with her law studies, she took part in a string of missions over the years, from building workshop for the weaving of pineapple fibers, to building a classroom in the rural province of Aklan. The director of a Filipino association invited her to participate in an educational program for disadvantaged children in Iloilo. Laurence accepted, and spent a year there, living with a family in a slum, where she learned humility and the value of sharing.
Upon completion of this program, her Filipino colleagues asked her to raise funds to help young girls living in the streets. Now closely acquainted with their needs, but with limited means, Laurence returned to France to continue her studies. After graduating in sociology and law, she won a place at the 3A School for responsible development, where she spent all her internships working in the Philippines and graduated with a Certificat d’Etudes Supérieures Internationales (certificate of higher international studies) in development management.
Determined, she returned to the Philippines shortly thereafter to raise with Ellien REGONDON the necessary funds to construct the first center to welcome young girls who have been sexually abused – the first victims of poverty and violence in the country. In 1997, CAMELEON Association was born.
Laurence Ligier spent seven years developing the CAMELEON center, located in Passi on the island of Panay. The association was quickly accredited by the Filipino Department of Social Welfare and Development.
In 2004, Laurence returned to France. She opened the Paris office of CAMELEON, and, as its director, continues to fight with determination for the growth of the association. She goes back to the Philippines two to three times a year for a couple of months each time, while working on CAMELEON’s external relations and international expansion with the creation of satellite offices in Switzerland and Luxembourg, as well as partnerships in Belgium, Andorra, the United States and Singapore.
The Philippines have officially recognized Laurence Ligier’s hard work and social engagement: the President of the Philippines presented her with an award “in recognition of her significant contribution to the development of the country”. In France, she was awarded the French Presidential Award for Community Involvement and Community Service, as well as the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (French Legion of Honor) and the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite (French National Order of Merit). She received the Clarins Femme Dynamisante Award and the Trophée de l’Audace from the organization Le Progrès.
In 2007, Laurence Ligier published her autobiography, « Princesses des Rues » (Princesses of the Streets)with Editions Tchou publishers. In response to the question, « Is your participation no more than a drop of water in the ocean? », she writes: « Can the life of a child be considered a drop of water?».