Angelina Jolie pledges $5 million to Cambodian charity. She'll preserve wildlife areas and help disabled victims of the Khmer Rouge

By Gary Susman
Updated April 11, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Angelina Jolie is backing her goodwill diplomacy with her own money, according to a Cambodian charity. The head of Cambodian Vision in Development told Reuters that the Oscar-winning actress has pledged $5 million over the next 15 years to the organization. The money will be used to set up a wildlife sanctuary over 49,500 acres of forest in northwestern Cambodia, a region still controlled by the genocidal Khmer Rouge as recently as five years ago. It will also go to help veterans and amputees in the landmine-strewn country.

Jolie has had strong ties to Cambodia ever since filming part of the first Lara Croft movie there three years ago. (The second, ”Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life,” comes out July 25.) She has visited refugee camps there in her capacity as a United Nations goodwill ambassador, and her adopted son Maddox is a Cambodian-born orphan. Of her donation, Cambodian Vision in Development chief Mounh Sarath told Reuters, ”This is a great opportunity for us to restore deforested areas and protect wildlife to ensure local communities will not destroy them.”