A CAMBODIAN-AMERICAN community leader and Khmer Rouge refugee from California has been awarded the state’s US$25,000 Peace Prize for her work with endangered youth in the city of Santa Ana.
Phalen Lim, 36, who was granted the award at a ceremony in San Francisco on Wednesday night, has been recognised for her work with The Cambodian Family, which works with primary school and high school students in parts of the city where drugs and gangs are prevalent.
The California Wellness Foundation, which presented the award, applauded Phalen Lim as an “integral leader in an agency that combats gang violence and promotes cultural pride and understanding in Santa Ana”.
In response to the award, she was cited in the Orange County Register as saying, “I must have done something good to deserve it … [but] it’s not just about me. It’s about the work that I did and about the people that I serve”.
Phalen Lim was just 2 years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975, but escaped into Vietnam and then to the US.