ABOUT BILL MORSE
WILLIAM W. MORSE is an American businessman and philanthropist.
Bill and his wife Jill first visited Cambodia in 2003, looking for a man named Aki Ra, an ex-child soldier who was clearing landmines with home-made tools and caring for wounded and abandoned children. Finding him in a simple compound he called the Landmine Museum, near the temples of Angkor Wat, they began supporting his work. They began supporting his work on a monthly basis, traveling to Cambodia several times a year to meet with Aki Ra and his wife Hourt.
On his return to the United States Morse started a US 501(c)3 charity, The Landmine Relief Fund, to raise money for their work in Cambodia. Morse has lived permanently in Cambodia since 2009.
Cambodian Self Help Demining (CSHD) – In 2007 the government required everyone that was clearing landmines and explosive remnants of war to secure a license; there had been too many accidents from people who did not know what they were doing. Morse traveled to Cambodia in January, 2007 and spent 2 years helping license the NGO. CSHD was licensed in late 2008.
Morse moved to Cambodia in 2009 to support the work of CSHD and to manage the English as a Second Language Program at a new Landmine Museum, built near the Banteay Srey Temple in Angkor Wat Park.
Funding for CSHD is provided by a multitude of sources. The largest donor is the United States Department of State, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement. The first grant was received in 2009, and have continued to the present time. In 2019 the management of the grant was taken over by the French NGO Humanities and Inclusion, (HI), formerly known as Handicap International. the LMRF worked with HI and the USDS to manage the transfer of the grant, as the LMRF felt that HI, with decades of experience could better take CSHD to the ‘next level’ of demining. Funding is also received from the Swiss NGO World Without Mines and the Canadian Landmine Foundation.
CNN HERO – In 2010 Morse nominated Aki Ra as a CNN Hero. From over 10,000 nominees, Aki Ra was named one of the years Top 10 CNN Heroes.
Rural Schools Support Organization – The Landmine Relief Fund was also instrumental in establishing the Cambodian NGO Rural Schools Support Organization (RSSO). RSSO has 2 projects they manage:
(1) Rural School Village Program (RSVP). RSVP builds primary schools in rural villages. RSVP pays the teachers a supplement, and provide all school supplies and maintain the structures. Through 2022 RSVP has built 28 schools supporting over 3,000 students. All schools are part of the Cambodian school system, with paid teachers and students whjo are part of the national system. All funding for RSVP is raised by the Landmine Relief Fund
(2) The Together Project (TTP) – The Together Project began in 2019 when the LMRF, working with a recent university scholarship graduate, built am organic farm near Siem Reap. The farm has a hydroponic greenhouse (28m x 10m), an organic netted garden (28m x 28m) and a mushroom house, where straw mushrooms are grown. TTP is a teaching farm, and the intent is to replicate the projects around the country helping locals produce additional food and provide needed income. The project manager odf the farm is teaching nearly 100 locals a month and we have built a mushroom house at a local high school to teach students how to take this project home. All funding for TTP is raised by the Landmine Relief Fund
The Landmine Relief Fund has provided university scholarships to over a dozen needy high school graduates in Cambodia. To date the Landmine Relief Fund has raised over $4,000,000 for work in Cambodia.