A TORRIDGE-based charity is putting down roots in the USA, thanks to an article in the North Devon Gazette. Last month we told the story of a party of Torridge teenagers planning to visit the killing fields of Cambodia and to help the underprivileged ch

A TORRIDGE-based charity is putting down roots in the USA, thanks to an article in the North Devon Gazette.Last month we told the story of a party of Torridge teenagers planning to visit the "killing fields" of Cambodia and to help the underprivileged children there in support of the charity Edukid.Bideford Methodist Circuit Youth Worker Chris Turner, who founded the charity with his wife Debs, has now heard from Cambodian refugee Thida MacKinnon, living America.After reading the Gazette article Thida wants to raise awareness in the USA of the work of Edukid and the needs of children in Cambodia."For a small charity like Edukid this represents a major opportunity for us," said Chris. "The Gazette article has opened a door that could help many, many more children."Chris and Debs - moved by the plight of people in a rural area of Cambodia - asked how they could help. They were asked if they could help send the children to school."The parents had given up hope of improving their quality of life, but believed education offered their children the best way out of the poverty they lived in," said Chris.For seven years their charity has sponsored many children, including provision of £10 school packs containing everything needed for a year of studies. Last year 750 of these packs were provided.Some children helped had gone on to university, now lived in buildings with running water and electricity and came back to work for Edukid in their spare time, said Chris.The 14 Torridge young people plan to visit Cambodia next summer to meet the children, see for themselves the poverty, visit schools and an orphanage and carry out tasks to help the Edukid work.They are already working to raise funds for their trip, which is likely to cost them around £15,000.Thida has told how she was forced to leave Cambodia as a small child before the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh, because her family would almost certainly have been killed - her father was working for the US Government at the time. Having grown up in America, she works at a leading US vendor for medical software.She has been back to Cambodia twice and said it was painful to see her own people suffering and that she and her brother had talked about ways they could help Cambodia, but did not know where to start.