Seaham woman launches fundraiser to support Cambodian communities through coronavirus crisis

A Bushtucker Trial-style fundraiser is helping support Cambodian communities as they deal with the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Friday, 11th September 2020, 6:24 pm

Sarah Porteous, from Seaham, launched the ‘Chew and Cheer Challenge’ as a way to support families in need across the Southeast Asian country, where her partner is from.

They were in Cambodia together when the pandemic hit.

The challenge has seen Sarah, 34, chow down on a range of Cambodian delicacies – including crickets and worms – in return for sponsorship, which goes towards providing access to clean water, emergency food parcels and medical help.

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Sarah Porteous is currently in Cambodia and trying to support the communities there.

Those supporting the fundraiser are being asked to join in with eating something they dislike, and nominating someone else to do the same.

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To date, Sarah’s innovative idea has raised more than £1,200 to help those who are struggling.

She said: “Cambodia is a country that relies heavily on tourism and with the world crashing to a halt it has had serious implications on the communities here as you can imagine.

Sarah is originally from Seaham.

"There is no such thing as furlough, Universal Credit or food banks here.”

During her time in Cambodia, Sarah – who previously worked for Durham County Council and attended the former Sunderland High School – said she has seen families struggling to live and drinking from dirty water puddles because that was all they had.

One street vendor, who has kept working throughout the pandemic, told Sarah he would rather die of Covid than see his family die of hunger.

Emergency food parcels containing 50kg of rice, noodles, sauces, tinned foods and condiments cost £35 each – and are enough to feed a family for a month.

The donations have already led to a number of these parcels being made up and sent out, as well as providing a water well and filters for safe drinking water.

Encouraging other people to join in and donate, Sarah added: “A little really does go a long way here.”

More than 70 people have given money so far, with just a short distance to go until the £1,500 target is hit.

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