Ely man to embark on 130km charity walk for “dumpster” orphans in Cambodia

PUBLISHED: 14:51 18 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:51 18 September 2018

Peter Harris with some of the children at the Centre for Children's Happiness in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. PHOTO: Liz Sayers

Peter Harris with some of the children at the Centre for Children's Happiness in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. PHOTO: Liz Sayers

Liz Sayers

An Ely-based education consultant is going the extra mile to raise funds for an orphanage in Cambodia.

A grandmother and grandaughter in Cambodia who were among the first families to move into the new community accommodation Peter�s fundraising has helped provide. PHOTO: Liz SayersA grandmother and grandaughter in Cambodia who were among the first families to move into the new community accommodation Peter�s fundraising has helped provide. PHOTO: Liz Sayers

Peter Harris has embarked on the latest in a series of challenges to raise money for the Centre of Children’s Happiness (CCH), an orphanage and school in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

Beginning his journey on Monday, September 17, Mr Harris has been sponsored to walk 130km in five days across the Camino, the pilgrims’ route to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.

Known as the Way of Saint James, the Camino is a long-distance trail which takes pilgrims across the north of Spain from the Pyrenees, through the Basque country to Santiago de Compostela.

“It’s a hilly terrain, so pretty tough for someone who lives in the Fens,” he said.

Mr Harris, who came to Ely as founder director of King’s International Study Centre, has supported the work of CCH for the past ten years.

It gives a home and education to children, most of them orphans, living on or near the smoking mountain - the city’s rubbish dumps.

“I travel all over the world and am often in Asia, but nowhere has touched my heart quite like CCH which houses, feeds, clothes and educates the ‘dumpsters’,” said Mr Harris.

There are more than 80 children living in the homes and a further 70 from impoverished families nearby who go to CCH for an education.

Six former ‘dumpsters’ have won full scholarships to study at universities in the USA and some older children are also supported to go on to vocational training.

CCH’s latest project is housing and a community centre for up to 60 families. Building is nearly complete and Mr Harris has set himself a target of raising $10,000 to complete the work.

“Friends, neighbours and regulars at the Prince Albert, our local in Silver Street, have been tremendously supportive, and I’m very grateful,” he said.

Mr Harris is hoping to spread the word about CCH on his return to the UK with talks at community groups in Ely, March, Littleport and Soham.

Any group who would like to hear more can contact Peter Harris by emailing PJHELY@gmail.com.

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