Gilks Family Opens New Shelter for Children

April 4, 2014 – Cambodian Children’s Fund opened a new shelter this week, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Pete Gilks, his son Ben, and a host of supporters throughout the U.K.

Pete, managing director the Phnom Penh-based Asia Pacific Cider Company (Bruntys), is keen to give back to the country he does business in. A total of $45,000 was raised for the shelter, and the kids who live there expressed their gratitude at the grand opening ceremony.

“For me, the future of Cambodia are all of you in front of me,” Pete told the crowd of kids. “This country needs what CCF can give.”

To fundraise for the project, Ben went to grueling lengths. Back in the U.K., he qualified for the Zero to Hero boxing program. With no prior boxing experience whatsoever, Ben had ten weeks of intense training for an appearance in the ring. He trained for several hours a day, and when things got tough, the cause he was fundraising for kept him focused. He was successful, in the ring and out, by winning the match and enlisting the support of many people to help build a home for kids with tough backgrounds.

Bill Longhurst, the British ambassador to Cambodia, joined the Wilks family to the shelter to see the result of the family’s fundraising.

“I’m delighted to be here to witness the support by this British company to this project,” Longhurst said. “Cambodian Children’s Fund is doing very important work and it’s great to see it up close.”

The shelter houses 70 kids who come from the most dire and dangerous households. Extreme poverty often comes with difficult problems at home, such as violence or substance abuse. We occasionally have to remove a child from these situations and place them in a safe home.

The shelter is across the street from our community centre, so the kids have easy access to healthcare, food and an education. For many, it’s the first time they’ve had access to a healthy diet, security and schooling. The kids are also provided counseling and peer support in order to help the healing process

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