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P.E.I. couple aiming to build day care in Ethiopia

Jim and Marion Harris made their most recent visit to Ethiopia in May. They’re helping run the East to East fundraiser in the Souris area on Aug. 17 to help build a day care in the village of Korah.
Jim and Marion Harris made their most recent visit to Ethiopia in May. They’re helping run the East to East fundraiser in the Souris area on Aug. 17 to help build a day care in the village of Korah. - Contributed

Jim and Marion Harris set to host second annual East to East fundraiser

SOURIS, P.E.I. —

The mission work of a retired P.E.I. couple is inspiring people in the Souris area to help build a day care in Ethiopia.

Jim and Marion Harris have been making regular trips to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the past 15 years. 

“We basically just live over there,” Jim said.

Last summer, they held the East to East fundraiser to help make necessary repairs to a school near one of the city’s outskirt villages. The village, Korah, is right beside a landfill, which people living there are forced to scavenge through for food.

“It’s just a mountain of garbage.”

The event invited anyone to walk, run or wheel from Monticello Schoolhouse to St. Margaret’s Hall in eastern P.E.I., then enjoy a pancake breakfast after. They raised about $22,400, which allowed them to spruce up the school by installing a water tank, electricity, windows, as well as to lay a concrete floor so students don’t have to walk in mud.

A similar fundraiser is planned for Saturday. This time they’re hoping to raise enough money to build a day care.

Wanting to help out, about 12 to 15 women with the Silver Threads club in Souris have been banding together to sew bunting bags for the day care, which are like miniature sleeping bags to keep babies warm.

Eleanor Doucette and Doreen Harding, volunteer sewers, said they’re using old T-shirts and can make about two to three bags a day.

“And a little hat to match,” Doucette said. 

They’re also making stuffed animals for the children.

“It’s a small way to help,” Harding said.


About Korah, Addis Ababa:

  • Population – About 200,000 (according to korahkids.com)
  • Origin – Established by people seeking leprosy treatment about 80 years ago
  • Common diseases/infections - Leprosy, HIV/AIDS, cholera, malnutrition
  • Common means of survival – Begging, prostitution, and scavenging the landfill for food or something to sell

Many women in Korah aren’t able to work because they need to care for their babies. The plan is to give them training, which will be offered by Brook Hills Development Organization, who the Harrises have partnered with to run the day care.

“We want to build a day care so that these women can work,” Marion said.

They’ve already secured the building, and 100 per cent of the funds raised Saturday will go toward extending it, supplying it, and establishing teaching and food programs.

The Harrises have only been living in the Souris area for four years, so they’re pleased people in the community are starting to chip in. They recently established Beacon East Humanitarian Organization, so that more Islanders can support the mission work.

The couple is honoured they get to spend their time helping Korah, Marion said.

“We’d love to see them become more sustainable,” Jim said.

Registration for the fundraiser starts at 8 a.m. at Monticello Schoolhouse, and donation is by pledge or by freewill.


East to East Run, Walk, Wheel 

  • A fundraiser to build a day care in the village of Korah, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
  • Begins at 8 a.m. at Monticello School and continues through Naufrage Harbour along the Northside Road
  • Ends with a pancake breakfast at St. Margaret's Hall. 
  • Donations gratefully accepted


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