Cambodia’s Landmine Museum

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.

Anti vehicle mines at Aki Ra's

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

About Younghusband

Sir Francis Edward Younghusband (1863-1942) was a British explorer, army officer, military-political officer, and foreign correspondent born in India who led expeditions into Manchuria, Kashgar, and Tibet. He three times tried and failed to scale Mt. Everest and journeyed from China to India, crossing the Gobi desert and the Mustagh Pass (alt. c.19,000 ft/5,791 m) of the Karakoram mountain range in modern day Pakistan. Convinced of Russian designs on British interests in India, Younghusband proactively engaged in the nineteenth century spying and conflict over Central Asia between the British and the Russians known as the Great Game. "Younghusband" is a Canadian who has spent a number of years bouncing back and forth between his home country and Japan. Fluent in Japanese and English with experience in numerous other languages from Spanish to Georgian, Younghusband has travelled throughout Asia. He graduated with an MA from the War Studies Department at the Royal Military College of Canada, where he focussed on the Japanese oil industry and energy security issues. He has recently returned to Canada from Japan, and is working in the technology sector.
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