Landmine removal activist to speak tonight in Palm Desert

PALM DESERT, Calif. - A former Palm Springs man who runs a group that funds the removal of land mines in Cambodia will discuss his work tonight in Palm Desert at UC Riverside.

Bill Morse, who lived in Palm Springs for 20 years before going to Cambodia, will speak at 6 p.m. at UCR Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive.

Morse is also holding a fundraising auction at 6 p.m. Sunday at Peabody's Cafe, 134 S. Palm Canyon Drive.

Morse and his wife Jill planned to retire in Palm Springs, then Bill met a former Khmer Rouge child soldier who was clearing land mines with a stick and a pair of pliers in Cambodia, according to UCR Palm Desert spokeswoman Maggie Downs.

In 2003, Bill Morse created the Landmine Relief Fund, and he and his wife moved to Siem Reap, Cambodia, in 2009. Jill Morse teaches in a school for young land mine victims, according to Downs.

The Landmine Relief Fund provides 80 percent of the funding for the Cambodian Self-Help Demining organization, which was founded by Aki Ra, a former child soldier in the Khmer Rouge. The fund helps build village schools, and pay for teachers and school supplies.

Landmine Relief Fund schools now have more than 500 students, and each child receives what Morse calls a village iPad -- a 6-by 9-inch piece of wood covered in layers of blackboard paint, and 100 pieces of chalk, Downs said.

The demining organization has cleared more than 1.4 million square meters, including 44 villages, and returned nearly 10,000 displaced people to the land. An estimated 5 million land mines remain in Cambodia. It costs about $15,000 per month to sustain a 30-member Cambodian demining team, Downs said.

Seats for Morse's talk are limited. For more information about the Landmine Relief Fund, go to www.landmine-relief-fund.com.

comments powered by Disqus

Photo Galleries

  • On this day: October 23
    IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation

    On this day: October 23

    The U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut are hit by a truck bomb, Robert Bork's Supreme Court nomination is rejected, and the iPod is introduced, all on this day.

    Read More »
  • World's most empathetic countries
    Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

    World's most empathetic countries

    Michigan State University has put together a list of the most empathetic countries. Researchers interviewed more than 100,000 adults from 63 countries and found "higher empathy countries also have higher levels of collectivism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, self-esteem, emotionality, subjective well-being, and prosocial behavior." Find out the top 10 countries that made the list.

    Read More »
  • On this day: October 22
    Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

    On this day: October 22

    The first parachute jump takes place, "Pretty Boy" Floyd is gunned down, football meets television, and The Supremes top the charts, all on this day.

    Read More »
  • Everything you wanted to know about the Electoral College
    William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

    Everything you wanted to know about the Electoral College

    The person ahead in the popular vote might not actually win the presidency. Why? The Electoral College takes the final vote -- not us.

    Read More »
  • Best Clinton, Trump lines from Alfred E. Smith dinner

    Best Clinton, Trump lines from Alfred E. Smith dinner

      Less than a day after their heated final presidential debate, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton traded shots at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner. Here's a look at the most memorable lines from the event.

    Read More »