Ely pair take part in Camino challenge to boost fundraising for 'dumpster children'
PUBLISHED: 08:45 05 November 2019
Five days to walk 120 kilometres along the Camino, the pilgrims' route to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain - that was the challenge Peter Harris and Liz Sayers set themselves to raise funds for a Cambodian school and orphanage.
They arrived back in Ely on Thursday October 31 and with sponsorship still to come, they are confident of raising £9,000 by the end of this year.
Peter, founder director of King's International Study Centre, has supported the Centre for Children's Happiness (CCH) the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh for nearly 12 years.
Currently CCH provides a home and education for 143 orphans who were living on or near the 'smoking mountain' of Phnom Penh's rubbish dumps.
A further 70 boys and girls from impoverished families living nearby go to school at CCH every day.
"Education transforms the life of these children but it's become clear to me that vocational training is the next step to provide them with the skills they need to find employment and contribute to society," said Peter.
He has linked up with Don Bosco, a Christian charity which runs vocational training courses at the Cambodian coastal resort of Sihanoukville and pledged to raise £4,500 to support five students for the academic year which has just begun.
The additional funds will pay for another 24 children currently working on the rubbish dumps to go to school and will meet the cost of books, uniform a bicycle and two bags of rice a week.
"The rice is a bribe, but without it, parents insist their children work on the dumps sorting rubbish and earning a dollar a week to feed the family."
In the summer, Peter and Liz hosted a Cambodian-style barbecue, cooked by Luke Chambers, executive chef of the Prince Albert and the Royal Standard, which raised £1,100.
"I am hugely grateful to everyone who has supported us. We know every pound raised will transform a life," he added.
"Walking the Camino was a way of saying 'thank you' - and it was quite a challenge."
Liz added: "Most pilgrims take six or seven days to walk the final stretch into Santiago.
"Because of work commitments Peter could only spare five days and it poured with rain for three days so it was certainly tough going but worth every step."
Anyone wishing to learn more about CCH can contact Peter via email@example.com