FLAME 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, 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.

"Flame is about inspiration. We call the process of a slum child becoming a young leader The Full Circle – kids emerge as confident leaders in their communities, inspiring others in education, service and leadership. The ultimate."

FLAME is about persistence. In any work done amongst the poor and vulnerable, the journey is a long one. We believe that a relentless determination to not give up on people is an essential ingredient in seeing individuals reach beyond their potential. Optimism and faith in a better future motivates and brings eternal transformation. With the necessary knowledge, skills and support people can be empowered to make better choices. 

These result in lasting changes which ripple into the community. Never quit. FLAME works with children and youth, their families and communities, all faiths, religions, genders and ethnicities.

Our social work team go out into the slums to visit children who need to go to school, often these children go out collecting rubbish to sell to support their families. We assess the needs of the family based on our criteria and we sponsor the children to go to school. Our case workers develop a relationship with the family and we do whatever it takes to assist the family to grow and the children to thrive at school. Once the children finish secondary school we offer places at our Leadership Academy Homes which help them study, grow in confidence and give back to their communities. Once their studies are completed the young adults leave the homes equiped to become some of Cambodia’s future leaders in the areas of health, medicine, social welfare, the arts, law, marketing and many more.


Sue Hanna - Executive Founder, FLAME

Our Academy Students give back to the community through starting and manning projects like Mobile Medical, which provides free health care in the slums; providing water filters, for free drinking water in the slums and the Student Centre where they teach what they have learned to younger students. We also have a Book Tuktuk that provides a mobile library into the slums where there are usually no books at all.

We do whatever it takes.

 For more details about FLAME Cambodia, please visit


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