An object the size of a tuna can had a long and menacing hold over Richard Yim’s childhood in Cambodia.
That was the average size of unexploded landmines that dotted parts of the country. Learning which streets and swaths of land to avoid is a childhood rite to many Cambodians — their ominous presence, normalized
So when Yim moved to Canada at the age of 13, one of the very first things he noticed about everyday Canadian life was the freedom to safely go wherever he wanted.
“It’s very different when you suddenly are actually able to walk where you want. It’s such a strange feeling in a way,” he told The Huffington Post Canada.
Richard Yim poses with his mom and older brother in a family photo. (Photo: Richard Yim)
According to the Cambodian Red Cross, children account for 50 percent of landmine casualties in the country.
A decade after leaving Cambodia, Yim is utilizing his childhood experience by starting a Canadian company — named The Landmine Boys — to take on the 110 million landmines still buried around the world.
The University of Waterloo graduate is drawing attention for his invention, which could put the dangerous work people undertake defusing landmines in the past.
With files from Emily Anonuevo