Born in Cambodia, Richard spent the first 13 years of his life being cautioned, as all Cambodian children are, about where he could and could not play, and seeing on every street people who were maimed to one degree or another. Cambodia has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the most heavily land-mined countries in the world – with an estimated 4 to 6 million land mines in the country.
Worldwide, land mines are a significant issue. The United Nations estimates that there are 4,000 to 6,000 landmine related deaths each year. Land mines also have an economic effect on mined countries – in Cambodia, for instance, fertile land cannot be farmed due to the presence of land mines.