Hak lost his leg, sister and brother ten years ago. He lost them to a landmine, planted in the ground by the Americans, the Vietnamese or the Khmer Rouge, around his family’s rice field. Now he has a dream; to tell his story to the world, to make them aware, to make them help clear up landmines, to help the poor landmine victims to a better future, independent of aid, to stop the manufacture and use of landmines, to make countries like Iran, Israel, China, Russia, and the US sign the treaty against landmines. Then he would like to get himself a job in an office or maybe be a tour guide to be able to help his mother who needs food and younger sisters and brothers who want to study.
Hak took us to the landmine museum outside of Siem Reap, where he spent his teenage years with 20 other landmine victims, getting a chance to study. The museum is run by a former Khmer Rouge soldier, Akira, who joined the KM as a child. He used to plant 1000s of mines into the ground thus becoming a real mine expert. Later he defected from the KM. Now he has dedicated his time to clear the mines from the fields and to help young landmine victims.
Hak showed us around the museum, explained how American, Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge mines worked, how they maim and kill people. Every year thousands of people are mutilated and killed by the mines that are still left in the ground in Cambodia.
We would like to help the likes of Hak. Having lost a leg does not mean he has lost his head. Hak is clever and so are many other disabled victims. If they can learn to get a good job its good for them, for their families and for Cambodia. Today Hak works for a Cambodian NGO, the Angkor Association for the Disabled, started by Sovantha, another landmine victim, as a captain in the Cambodian army he lost both of his legs to a landmine. Sovantha works hard to help other victims but with very limited means. We would like to help Hak, Sovantha and their fellow victims. Would you?