I met with a Flame Leadership Academy student this week, Veasna, who is working now for Flame on the social work team. She understands the value of learning and specifically of learning language. She is from a disadvantaged family herself - she knows exactly how hard it is for the Flame kids and has literally 'been there, done that". She knows first hand what commitment looks like and to this day has an unusual level of determination to make the most of the opportunity that she has been given. She attends university and gains work experience at Flame. She was telling me that when she goes home and visits with her younger siblings and mum they ask her about when she’s going to find a husband and get married, and she just shakes her head and says she just doesn’t have the space. She is single-minded in her focus to do her very best at university and to help the kids in Flame. She has had a glimpse of her own potential and fully believes that she is able to make a huge difference and NOTHING is going to stand in her way.
She went on to explain to me, that in Cambodia, without a sold grasp of English, kids they will be isolated from the international community and disadvantaged in accessing the best materials for their studies. They will not be able to reach their full potential.
When i visited her at the Flame Activity Centre in Sensok, Veansa pointed out to me one girl who was at our centre for the very first time. She is a bright 14 year old, in grade 8, but had never been able to attend English lessons and really lacks confidence as she knows she is behind and struggling to keep up. Her mother has HIV and is at the stage now where she isn’t mobile and has stopped eating, and even finds it hard to drink. What does the future look like for the eldest girl in a family which is losing its mother?
Life is not fair. That’s for sure. I see kids who have been given a huge chance and their lives and futures will never be the same… and i have seen too many kids tagging along behind a parent pulling a cart of recycled plastic, barefoot and grubby, busy working to support their families. The number of kids that Flame can reach is limited by donations. It’s basic maths.
We are increasing the numbers of university scholarships and opening our doors for more people like Vaesna but really need your help to pay for the scholarships. Please consider giving to the Flame Leadership Academy Program so that more people like Veasna can receive a university education and give back to the communities they came from. This is the full circle.