About Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF)

Our Vision: A society free from poverty and inequality.

Our Mission: To increase access to education, healthcare, and sport, enabling underprivileged children and their communities to lift themselves out of poverty.

ISF is a Cambodian charity dedicated to a vision of society free from poverty and inequality. We have 13 years of experience working with some of Cambodia’s most marginalised children and economically deprived communities to build healthier and brighter futures.


Our History

The tide has gone out and has left a million starfish stranded on the beach. They are slowly dying under the heat of the sun. A little girl is walking along this beautiful sandy beach. As she walks along, she picks up a starfish and throws it back into the sea. She then picks another one and another, throwing each into the sea. An old man watches her for a while then walks up to her and says “What are you doing little girl? There are millions of starfish out there dying. You cannot believe that you can make a difference”. The girl kneels down, picks up a starfish, throws it into the sea and says “I made a difference to that one”.

The starfish story, adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley, encapsulates the core belief of Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) that each and every one of us can make a difference, one child at a time.

In 2005, ISF founder Peter Slater and a group of his friends, all of whom had worked and lived in Asia for a number of years, visited Cambodia. All were impacted by the beauty of the country and the warmth of its people. However, they found that the devastating effects of the Pol Pot, Khmer Rouge regime which caused the deaths of approximately 2 million Cambodians were still evident in the levels of poverty and in the lack of infrastructure and access to education.

After numerous conversations with local people and visits to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and orphanages it was clear to the group that there was both a need and an opportunity to make a lasting difference to the lives of many Cambodian children. ISF was formed, and the group became its first Trustees.

The Trustees quickly agreed that their focus would be centred around two core programmes, an education programme and a football coaching programme, as each could have a profound and significant impact.


What We Do in Cambodia

Through our Education Programme, Football Programme and our Community Development Projects we are supporting those most in need to build a brighter future. Our reach extends beyond the classroom and football field and offers education, vocational opportunities and healthcare to the whole community. We believe this multi-faceted approach has the potential to create lasting change in the lives of those who need it most. Our support includes (but is not limited to):

  • Catch-up Education Programme – a fast-track education for children who have never been to school or have dropped out to ‘catch up’ to the correct grade for their age and enter state school

  • State school support – ongoing support to students (and their families) who completed the Catch-Up Education Programme and are attending state school

  • Healthcare – checkups, treatment, vaccinations, eye care, dental care and more

  • Nutrition – school meals six days a week and monthly food parcels

  • English classes – offered to catch-up, state school and employment students

  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT) classes – offered to catch-up, state school and employment students

  • Employment Support – careers counselling, vocational training and more

  • Bicycles, helmets and road safety training – for students living more than 2km from school

  • Community Development Projects – community libraries, sewing projects, adult literacy courses, our Soap for Hope project and more

  • Football Programme – opportunities for ISF students and students from other schools and organisations to play football competitively, receive social impact education and attend weekly training sessions

UN Sustainable Development Goals

We are committed to advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals in our programmes where appropriate and currently are working towards the following:

Our Stories

Channa Stitches Together a New Life

August 28th, 2020|

Channa Stitches Together a New Life Channa’s life was turned upside down by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The 32-year old mother had built a career as a garment factory worker. The hours were [...]


Where our money goes:

For every $1 we receive in donations, 94c goes directly back into our programmes.

So, when you donate to ISF, you can be sure that your gift will have the greatest impact possible.

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