It’s easy to overlook a country of only 14 million people that underwent major genocide and suffered the ravages of civil and international war several decades ago. However, every day, people in Cambodia still face the lasting effects of those hardships. Poverty, lack of education, illness, and landmines are all still major problems.
In 2003 Bill Morse learned about a “crazy Cambodian man who deactivated landmines and unexploded ordinance by using a stick and a pair of pliers”. Aki Ra, founder of Cambodian Self-Help Demining (CSHD), the Rural School Village Program (RSVP), and the Cambodia Landmine Museum and Relief Center, was that man. Aki Ra had been approached by many Westerners over the years following the Khmer Rouge occupation looking to help his cause, but only rarely did something ever come of it. Bill Morse wanted to help and go the extra mile by doing so.
The Landmine Relief Fund (LMRF) was established in 2003 to support the work of Aki Ra and his NGOs. The LMRF is a US 501c3 charity based out of the United States.
“People don’t want to raise money for a country that they can’t even find on a map. By the time this problem is gone, I won’t even be around anymore. It’s up to the younger generations, the future, to get rid of this problem created by the older generations. Cambodia is the size of Missouri. If these deaths and injuries were happening there, the US Army wouldn’t be in Afghanistan, they’d bin Kansas City marching to St. Louis. “
Lt. US Army, Military Police 1970/71