activity centre

Flame Expansion: Steung Meanchey -one of the darkest slums of Phnom Penh

Flame recently adopted the Hope for Life Activity Centre in the heart of Steung Meanchay, which has been running for many years. 

This is the kind of established slum where centres get broken into, things get stolen, and drug and alcohol related crimes are rampant. It's the underbelly of Phnom Penh where criminals run to when there's a police chase.

Sue's perspective of Steung Meanchey -

" It's not just slums and smells you can taste. The slum felt like another level down, more hardcore. We met a grandma today who is 50. I stood in her -not-even-house, with no door, just a corner of a walkway, my feet straddled the sewerage that was coming through from under the bed. I felt a heaviness of the deal she's been dealt in life, her son is a drug addict, her daughter in law has run away and her own husband recently died and she is left with her 10 yr old grandson.

I know that Flame can't take all that pain away, but we can do something to bring joy into her life. For this woman to see her grandson thrive, that he's in school and has such a different future from his own parents gives her hope. Her future is pretty much set, but she can see a brighter future for her grandson.

This lady is so happy that her grandson is in school!

This lady is so happy that her grandson is in school!


Strangely, I don't feel hopeless when I see the slum. It's really well established, renown for drug and alcohol related crime and is a hiding place for criminals. But I do feel sad that Flame wasn't here 20 years ago. If we were involved in this community they would now have some young adults who would be doctors, lawyers and teachers who would be shining lights in that place.

That would be incredibly inspirational to the people we met there today. Maybe that would be the impetus they need to do the hard work required to get them out of that lifestyle and culture and rut.

There's an African proverb that says the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is today. So even though Flame wasn't there 20 years ago, we are there today. And that's what matters.

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St Paul's Collegiate comes to Flame

A group of 19 students from St Paul's Collegiate in Hamilton volunteered at Flame over the last week, doing painting projects and teaching English and ukulele. It has been a brilliant time and our Activity Centre at Sensok looks amazing! Thank you guys!

 

Flame are thankful for the generosity of this awesome kiwi school, they have funded the Book TukTuk, Flame's latest project, bringing books into the slums to reinforce learning, as well as identify kids who are not in school! This was the brainchild of Poeurn, our case worker extraordinaire, who recognized that kids in school often don't have books at home, and that there are still so many kids in the slums who aren't enrolled in school. 

Bringing books to the slums  

Bringing books to the slums  

Time for Teeth

I took the photo above of these two begging boys on my first Mobile Medical trip. Have a look at the teeth of the boy with the huge smile. In developed countries we all have access to clean water and often dental care for kids is free. Brushing teeth is normal and rotting teeth is not. This has been on my mind, and Flame really wants the kids in our project to have healthy teeth.

Cute kid, nice photo thanks Esther!

Cute kid, nice photo thanks Esther!

We reached out to an organization called One2One who among other things, do dental work among the poor. Now, over 30 Flame kids have had their teeth checked! This is one more step towards whole minds and whole bodies! Collaboration like this makes the world of difference! Thanks One2One!!

Mobile Medical on Steroids!

8 nursing students from Edith Cowan University in Perth come to help Flame

The students and Flame volunteers did medical checks, ear and eye checks, lice treatments, fingernail clipping and tutorials on brushing teeth with 450 slum dwelling children.

Hundreds of kids in the Cemetery  

Hundreds of kids in the Cemetery  

The nurses also conducted first aid training for the Flame Young Adults. It was such a full weekend! 

The students were able to see the entire Full Circle: the slum living kids, the kids in our programs, and the young adults who volunteer now as leaders. The nursing students were stunned and teary eyed at the impact of the Flame leaders who knew poverty and are now university students and graduates who work among the poor.

 "this has renewed my faith in humanity"  

Hounthy doing eye checks

Hounthy doing eye checks

Welcome to the World!

We celebrate the arrival of a new baby and the beginning of a new generation at Flame today! Last night Houn Thy and Lili became the proud parents of Lysearng, a beautiful boy! Congrats guys. 

Houn Thy leads the activity centre at SenSok and embodies the full circle. He comes from a very difficult background, and is now investing his life back into the lives of the kids in our project. Well done Thy! You and Lili will be great parents!

Cute baby, just a few hours after his arrival  

Cute baby, just a few hours after his arrival  

Catch Me If You Can

I talked with two of the kids at the New Flame Catch-Up Class.

Ratana started school last year and struggles with reading and writing. Despite being 14, she finds it hard to follow her grade one teacher. She used to pick apples in Thailand. 

Intense learning at the Flame Activity Centre

Intense learning at the Flame Activity Centre

Rotha left school when he was about 9 to look after his little sister after his parents were recruited to work abroad. He hasn't seen them since, they disappeared. He is attending the Flame Catch-Up Class every day and hopes to start school next month. When he grows up, Rotha wants to be a truck driver. 

The Catch-Up Class was sponsored by some caring kiwis who understand the value of education and that some kids who have fallen through the cracks need extra help. Thanks guys! 

Hot Days at Sen Sok

Today we have the kids program again at Sen Sok, with over 80 little kids in the heat. The Flame young adults led the kids in songs and games, with the Littlies colouring in.  

The big kids who look after their siblings get a well deserved break, and the little kids love colouring in!! Win Win. 

The big kids who look after their siblings get a well deserved break, and the little kids love colouring in!! Win Win. 

Cute kids love gathering at the Flame Community Centre at Sen Sok

Cute kids love gathering at the Flame Community Centre at Sen Sok

Rithy held a clinic at the end of the session for anyone needing medical care. 

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Happy Easter to everyone from the Sen Sok Team!!