Aki Ra


Aki Ra

Infobox Person
name = Aki Ra


image_size = 220px
caption = Aki Ra
birth_date = unknown c.1973
birth_place = Siem Reap, Cambodia
death_date =
death_place =
occupation = Landmine campaigner, museum curator
spouse = Hourt
parents =
children = Amatak, Mine

Aki Ra is a former Khmer Rouge conscripted child soldier who worked as a deminer and museum curator in Siem Reap, Cambodia. He and his wife Hourt have brought home nearly 20 children who have lived through a landmine accident. They provide these children with an education and family atmosphere. From 1993 to 2007, Aki Ra removed landmines and unexploded ordnance(UXO) by hand in Cambodia. He employs very unusual demining techniques, usually working only with a knife and a sharp stick.

According to debated official story, Aki Ra’s parents were killed by the Khmer Rouge during the Pol Pot regime (1975-1979) and he was raised in a jungle camp as a child soldier. He fought for the Khmer Rouge until 1983 when Siem Reap province, where he lived, was captured by the Vietnamese. He was conscripted into the Vietnamese army on threat of his life while still a boy. He later served with Cambodian army as a teenager and still later received landmine clearance training with the United Nations.

He is the curator and founder (1999) of the Cambodia Landmine Museum, a Cambodian non-governmental organization (NGO). The Landmine Relief Fund, and other groups and individuals provide some of the funding for the landmine safety and education program which Aki Ra regularly conducts in Cambodia's still extremely dangerous rural countryside and jungles.

A new Museum was opened in 2007 thanks to the fund raising efforts of the Cambodian Landmine Museum Relief Fund. In order to secure certification for Cambodia'a only landmine museum, Aki Ra was required to cease his 'uncertified' demining activities. He did so in early 2007. Since that time he has been attempting to register a new NGO, "'Cambodian Self Help Demining (CSHD), and have it certified by the Cambodian Mine Action Authority. The Landmine Relief Fund has had a representative in the country since January 2008 working to secure registration and certification.

CSHD became a registered Cambodian NGO in May 2008 and secured its provisional demining certifiacate in June. Aki Ra will re-start his demining efforts, concentrating on 'low priority' villages throughout the Kingdom.

A movie about Aki Ra's life is being made. It will be called "Year Zero, Story of a Khmer Rouge Soldier."

ee also

Links

* Cambodian Self Help Demining http://www.CambodianSelfHelpDemining.org
* Landmine Relief Fund http://www.landmine-relief-fund.com
* Cambodia Landmine Museum Relief Fund http://www.cambodialandminemuseum.org
* Cambodian Mine Action Center http://www.cmac.org.kh
* Aki Ra, Landmines and News from the Jungle Blog http://landmine-relief-fund.blogspot.com/
* Project Enlighten: http://www.projectenlighten.org/
* Year Zero, Story of a Khmer Rouge Soldier: http://www.yearzerodoc.com/
* Vietnam Veterans Mine Clearing Team - Cambodia: http://members.optushome.com.au/glaust/index-1.htm

Articles

* [http://www.doublestandards.org/graceffo3.html Interview with Aki Ra]
* New Zealand Herald story about Aki Ra http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=2&ObjectID=10388620
* Common Language Project Article http://www.commonlanguageproject.net/articles/Akira_Stuteville.htm
* Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0108/p20s01-wosc.html


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