The Flame Story
The Bong Paoun Project was founded in 2009 by Timothee Paton, a French missionary. He was deeply troubled by the plight of street working children in Phnom Penh and was compelled into action. He found other people who shared the same concern and began a mentoring style program where a bong (older sibling) paired up with a paoun (younger sibling) and strong relationships began to be formed between slum living children and adults who visited the children and families in their homes in the slums.
An external evaluation was conducted in 2013, and showed that changing to a centre based model would widen our ability to provide better care to more slum living children and their families. This centre based model is now fully in play, and we continue to inspire slum living children out of begging or recycling into education, or those who have left school, back into school, with academic support to help them succeed in their studies. We have some who are now in their final years of high school, who will be completing Grade 12, and some who want to continue to study at University, which previously was beyond impossible.
As these teens are heading towards graduation, the need for a revised model of care which would target the changing needs of these teens, inspired us to begin Leadership Academy Homes. These Academies provide an environment where these teens can continue on the positive trajectory, to grow into leaders who serve back into the communities they came from. For some it is a university pathway, for others it’s vocational training. Either way, it’s a vital time as they launch into adulthood.