In November of 2003 Lady Younghusband and I took a trip to Thailand and Cambodia. While there we visited Aki Ra’s Landmine Museum, a little shanty about 20 minutes of Siem Reap, the booming tourist town. The museum was basically a dumping ground for deactivated landmines and UXO that Aki Ra had demined over the years. The museum not only had information on the wars contributing to Cambodia’s 8.5 million landmine/UXO problem (the entire population is 13.5M) but also had a school for child victims of landmines. Once you get your arm or leg blown off in a place like Cambodia, it is pretty hard to find work to sustain yourself. Aki was bringing in domestic and foreign volunteers to teach these kids the skills they would need to make a living in the future.
Anyways, at that time Aki Ra’s Landmine Museum was asking for overseas help in registering as an NGO. The Cambodian government was giving him a hard time and he knew that NGO status would give him some manoeuvering room, and help him deal with financial aid. They were asking anybody and everybody if they knew someone who knew anything about NGO law. Once back in Japan I started sending out emails to all the people I knew, but to no avail. After that whenever I talked to new people about Cambodia or NGO’s I would always ask them on behalf of Aki Ra.
Nearly 2 years later I am writing a column on landmines, so I check out Aki Ra on the web again. Turns out, and I am pleased to announce, that they received their NGO status April 6, 2004! It also looks like he is getting a new building as well! Check out the “details here”:http://user.txcyber.com/~jrogers/where%20are%20we%20now/#gotoconstruction, and take a look at their new website: “Cambodia Land Mine Museum Relief Fund”:http://www.cambodialandminemuseum.org. Also, “read more on Aki Ra’s amazing life.”:http://www.akiramineaction.com/story.html. For more information on “Cambodia’s progress in clearing mines read more.”:http://www.icbl.org/lm/2004/cambodia