A Change of Guard

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Monday, 10 October 2011

The moment Reaksa tracked down his family’s killers - and forgave them

Reaksa Himm with his wife and children.

Sunday 9 October 2011
Kenilworth Weekly News (UK)

AN INSPIRING and extraordinary tale of terror, emotional pain and astounding forgiveness will be told in Leamington this month by a remarkable man.

Reaksa Himm was 13 years old when 13 of his immediate family, including his parents, were murdered by the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot’s regime.

Miraculously, the teenager survived and crawled out of the mass grave.

He eventually sought refuge in Canada, where he spent the next few years working and studying. But he then made the decision to return to Cambodia to help others who had been through difficult life experiences.

As well as setting up a community centre, children’s library, and village school, Reaksa tracked down the killers of his family to forgive them. Children belonging to his father’s killer now attend the school Reaksa funded.

Cubbington-based charity Teams4U, which supports vulnerable children around the world, is working with Reaksa in his work on reconciliation and youth development in Cambodia.

It is this organisation which has arranged for him to share his experiences with people for an evening at the Spa Centre on Saturday October 22.

Now an international speaker, Reaksa travels the world to talk about peace and reconciliation and has written two books, Tears of My Soul and After the Heavy Rain.

Tickets to the event, which starts at 7.45pm, are free but must be booked and there is a suggested £3 donation, with proceeds to Teams4U. Call 315893 or email info@teams4u.com

The Khmer Rouge (Red Cambodians) is the name given to followers of the Communist Party of Kampucha, the ruling party from 1975 to 1979. Its attempts at agricultural reform led to widespread famine and arbitrary execution and torture carried out by its cadres are considered to have constituted genocide.

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