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Aki Ra Work Highlights
- As a child soldier for the Khmer Rouge, Aki Ra planted up to 5,000 land mines a month.
- Now he goes into rural villages to find remaining mines and defuse them.
- Aki Ra has also taken in about 100 orphans, some injured by land mines.
Aki Ra is a former Khmer Rouge conscripted child soldier who works as a deminer and museum curator in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Aki Ra, leader of the Cambodian Self Help Demining team.
Born unknown c.1970
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Occupation Landmine campaigner, museum curator, director of all-Khmer de-mining NGO
Aki Ra, a Cambodian native who does not recall his birth year, was a child soldier during the communist Khmer Rouge regime, a genocidal crusade responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Cambodians during the 1970s. He was raised by the army after being separated from his family during the internal conflict.
Around age 10, Aki Ra estimates, he was given a rifle that measured his own height. Soon after, he was taught to lay land mines.
For three years, Aki Ra worked as a mine layer for the Khmer Rouge. He then did the same job for the Vietnamese army that overthrew his village.
In 1993, one year after working with the U.N., Aki Ra decided to begin clearing mines alone.
In 2008, Aki Ra formed his nonprofit demining organization. Comprised of native Cambodians, it includes former soldiers and war crime victims. One of the workers is an amputee who lost a leg to a land mine.
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