Frequently Asked Questions

Cambodian Self-Help Demining

How much of my donation goes to CSHD operations?

The Canadian Landmine Foundation is a lean organization. 85% of your gift will go directly to CSHD programming, specifically their explosive ordnance risk education team.

Why has the CLMF decided to focus its efforts on Cambodia?

In Cambodia, the Foundation has proven, long-time partners in Aki Ra’s Cambodian Self-Help Demining (CSHD) and its affiliate organization the Landmine Relief Fund, a US-based charity created by US Army veteran Bill Morse specifically to fund Aki Ra’s work.

CSHD is accredited by the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority and operates demining and explosive ordnance disposal and explosive ordnance risk education teams. Aki Ra, CSHD’s founder, has been clearing mines since 1993. His organization has cleared almost 3 million square meters of land to date.

From 2015 to 2022, the Canadian Landmine Foundation sponsored one of CSHD’s explosive ordnance disposal teams, EOD5. In January 2022, three deminers from a different CSHD EOD team were killed when an anti-tank mine detonated as they were trying to disarm it. It was the organization’s first fatal accident in 18 years of operation.

In the wake of this accident, all of CSHD’s teams were reorganized and received new, higher levels of explosive ordnance disposal certification. CSHD asked us to fund a new type of team, one dedicated to explosive ordnance risk education. EORE6 began teaching risk education session in April 2022.

Why are there so many mines and other explosive remnants of war in Cambodia?

From the 1960s to the 1990s, Cambodia was in an almost constant state of war. The Vietnam War routinely spilt over the Cambodian border, and US bombers dropped some 540,000 tons of bombs in Cambodia in an attempt to cut off Viet Cong forces operating over the border.

During this time, the Cambodian civil war began. In 1975 the Khmer Rouge gained control of the country and began the genocide commonly known as The Killing Fields. Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1979, overthrowing the Khmer Rouge. This invasion marked a new phase in the country’s civil war between the new Soviet and Vietnamese-backed government and the Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge.

Landmines were used in Cambodia before the Khmer Rouge, but the 1979-89 civil war saw increased use. By the time a UN-brokered truce came into effect in 1991, some ten million mines were planted across the country, randomly and in marked fields. Landmines became the symbol of the Cambodian civil war. In addition to guarding borders, minefields were used to expropriate farmland and guard against bandits. Minefields were even re-laid when the original weapons subsided into muddy earth.

When the fighting ended no records existed as to where mines were laid and Cambodians have been suffering the consequences ever since.

Who is Aki Ra?

Aki Ra is the founder of Cambodian Self Help Demining.

A former child soldier, he has devoted his adult life to helping Cambodia recover from decades of conflict.  Aki Ra’s parents were killed by the Khmer Rouge, and from age ten to twenty, he was conscripted by three different sides of Cambodia’s civil war. Like many child soldiers, one of his tasks was to plant landmines. When the UN arrived in 1991, he was hired to help clear mines—something he’s been doing ever since.

For years, Aki Ra demined on his own, with nothing more than a stick and some pliers. He estimates that he has personally located and defused more than 50,000 landmines. His work turned him into a local legend and attracted the attention of Bill Morse and his wife Jill, who travelled to Cambodia to meet Aki Ra in 2003.

Since 2003, Aki Ra has worked with the support of Bill Morse and the Landmine Relief Fund. His humanitarian work now consists of three organizations– Cambodian Self Help Deming, The Cambodian Landmine Museum and Relief Centre, and The Rural Schools Village Program.

Aki Ra has been featured by Time and CNN, who honoured him with a CNN Heroes award in 2010.

Is CSHD certified to perform mine action in Cambodia?
Besides the Canadian Landmine Foundation, where does CSHD get its support?

CSHD receives funding from the US State Department, Humanity and Inclusion (HI, formerly Handicap International), and Swiss charity World Without Mines, and the Landmine Relief Fund.

Where in Cambodia does CSHD operate?

CSHD’s EOD and Risk Education Teams operate primarily in northeast Cambodia, particularly in the border provinces of Siem Reap, Banteay Manchey, and Oder Mancheay.

Where can I learn more about mine action in Cambodia?

The Landmine Monitor is an annual report on the status of the Ottawa Treaty and mine action around the world. It includes individual sections on mine-affected countries like Cambodia.

Mine Action

Does the CLMF do any work in Ukraine?

The Foundation does not run any programs in Ukraine but does accept gifts to support humanitarian mine action there. These funds are disbursed to The HALO Trust less a 10% processing fee to cover administrative costs including financial transactions and the issue of tax receipts.

The HALO Trust is a British NGO. They are the leading organization for humanitarian mine action in Ukraine. The Government of Canada has committed funds to HALO for work in Ukraine.

If you wish to donate to The HALO Trust via the Canadian Landmine Foundation visit our Donate page and select “Mine Action – Ukraine.” If you wish to donate directly to The HALO Trust, click here (UK) or here (USA).

What is the difference between landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW)?

Landmines are a specific type of weapon that are hidden, usually in the ground, designed to kill or disable a person or vehicle that moves over or near them. Explosive remnants of war are pieces of ordnance like IEDs, bombs, artillery shells or grenades that either failed to explode in combat or were simply abandoned. Both remain dangerous long after fighting ends.

What is Explosive Ordnance Risk Education?

Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE), aims to inform people living in mine-affected areas about the dangers of landmines and other explosive remnants of war in order to help them stay safe. It can include public information campaigns, training, and community engagement, among other efforts.

CSHD’s EOD Team 6 travels throughout rural Cambodia conducting formal EORE classes throughout the week. CSHD’s other EOD team conduct EORE sessions on an ad-hoc basis as they respond to calls outs.

Who benefits from explosive ordnance risk education (EORE)?

Entire communities benefit from explosive ordnance risk education (EORE). EORE provides men, women, and children with the necessary tools to identify, avoid, and report ERWs.

These sessions are an invaluable aspect of mine action that save families and lives.

What is Explosive Ordnance Disposal?

Explosive Ordnance Disposal or EOD is the detection, identification, evaluation, rendering safe, recovery, and disposal of explosive ordnance.

Have any countries been successful in removing all their landmines?

Yes! Albania, Algeria, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Burundi, Chile, Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, Denmark, Djibouti, France, Gambia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hungary, Jordan, Malawi, Montenegro, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Palau, Rwanda, Suriname, Swaziland, Tunisia, Uganda, Venezuela and Zambia have all completed their obligations under Article 5 of the Ottawa Treaty.

What does mine-free mean?

A state that is mine free has destroyed “all anti-personnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control.” States that sign on to the Ottawa Treaty agree to become mine-free within ten years of the Treaty coming into force in their country.

Transparency & Accountability

Can I view the Foundation’s financial statements?

The Canadian Landmine Foundation’s charitable tax returns are available here on Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities and Giving page.

What is the Canadian Landmine Foundation’s track record?

Since its inception in 1999, the Canadian Landmine Foundation has contributed $3.8 million to mine action projects around the world, including clearance, victim assistance, and explosive ordnance risk education. The Foundation has supported successful projects in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Colombia, Croatia, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Vietnam.

Read about our past projects HERE.