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 children working in the streets of 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 children and adults who visited the children and families in their homes in the poor communities.
An external evaluation was conducted in 2013, and showed that changing to a center based model would widen the ability to provide better care to more of these children and their families. This center based model is now fully in play, and we continue to inspire children from poor communities to move from begging or recycling into education, or for 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, lead to the merger, in 2016, with the Flame Ministries' Leadership Academy Homes which had been founded by Sue Hanna. 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.