Aki Ra – Adventure Philanthropist *Video*
Of course, I went to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat. But I also went because I wanted to visit Cambodia’s Land Mine Museum. Founded by Aki Ra, Cambodia’s Land Mine Museum and Relief Center mission is to:
- Tell Aki Ra’s story
- Inform the public about the horrors of landmines and all explosive remnants of war.
- Care for the more than 40 children and adults –all victims of land mines — that live in the Relief Center.
Khmer Child Solider
At age 10, Aki Ra was drafted into the Khmer Rouge army and was forced to plant tens of thousands of land mines throughout the Cambodian countryside. He soon developed a specialty as an explosives expert, and was known for his calm demeanor and steady hands.
It was this experience that gave him the knowledge that enabled him to begin detonating and clearing landmines after he escaped from the Khmer Rouge. For more than 12 years, Aki Ra has removed landmines –more than 50,000 so far — wherever he could find them.
Cambodia’s Land Mine Museum
He originally started the Land Mine Museum at his home on a quiet side street in Siem Reap. Now the museum and information center helps care for dozens of children that are wounded, handicapped, or orphaned because of exploding mines.
Although the museum isn’t large, it contains a huge amount of information about mines – including dozens of examples of different types of explosive devices. It also has a mock mine field and a teaches you about how to avoid stepping on mines. (I think this advice could come in handy during my travels!):
When walking off road, you can avoid land mines by stepping on places where they can’t be easily planted, like:
- Large rocks
- The base of small flexible trees
- Dense clumps of grass
- The roots of larger trees
Watch the Destruction of Mines
Watch this 10-minute clip, a trailer for the upcoming movie: A Perfect Solider. It is visually beautiful and quietly disturbing.
Aki Ra was voted a CNN Top 10 Hero for 2010 — watch him in action!
GoErinGo! Fund Donations
• I bought Flip Flops: While I was visiting the museum, I noticed a wish list tacked to the wall. The list included a need for 30 pairs of flip flops for the Center’s children. Done! The GoErinGo! Fund made a donation of $75 to purchase every child at the Center a new pair of flip flops. )
• I feed Ziko: I’m also continuing to send a monthly donation to Ziko, a landmine detection rat. I’ve been sponsoring Ziko for nearly 2 years. Read more about Ziko and HEROrats.
You can help too!
We have lots of ways to help Cambodia’s land mine victims:
- Donate to the Landmine Museum at: www.CambodiaLandmineMuseum.org
- Support their sister organization, which works to de-mine Cambodia: www.CambodiaSlefHelpDemining.org
- The US-based nonprofit Project Enlighten specifically provides college scholarships to the youth at the Cambodia Land Mine Museum. The organization also offers an option for Canadian donors.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 and is filed under Adventure Philanthropists.