Flame Cambodia, operating since 2009, is giving opportunities for slum children to receive an education from primary through to university level.
Flame works alongside slum living children and their families integrating the children into school and actively encouraging them to remain in school for as long as they are able to achieve. Many will venture into university, tertiary and vocational training. While they are developing, the youth and young adults are actively involved with younger underprivileged children, providing inspiration and role modeling.
Our immediate concern is the high number of young children not accessing local education services. For the most part this is because of parental illiteracy, lack of adequate health care, and inability to afford even minimal school-related costs (e.g. uniforms, text books, stationery). As the years pass, the children who would be entering the middle primary years have fallen further and further behind leading to a reluctance to look at any form of education. This is the cycle of educational poverty seen in the slums of Cambodia.
Flame addresses this cycle of educational poverty with our own “Full Circle” model which is a long-term approach to sustainable change, whereby the helped become the helpers and then the change agents for assisting others.
Such a model of change means that the economic improvement to the family may take up to 15 years before it can be seen and measured. That does not mean there are not markers along the way; indicators of learning and attendance and achievement. However, when a child raised in the slums graduates from university or finishes vocational training and gets a well-paid job, the ripple effect is clearly evident in families and children of the upcoming generations. This is the only sustainable way to create a new paradigm of self-determined development.
Flame operates two Activity Centres in Phnom Penh – one in Sen Sok and one in Bong Tom Pun. Since government school is only for a half day the centres provide study help and extra tuition to any child – even if they are not officially part of the program.
Classes are given in Maths, English, Computer, Khmer as well as dancing and music. This helps the children excel at school and this tuition is invaluable for children who may have missed years in school due to poverty. It helps them to catch up to their peers.
Flame also makes sure no child leaves the activity centre without having something to eat.