The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI)

The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) was created in 1997 on the 50th Anniversary of the Marshall Plan by General (Ret.) Gordon R. Sullivan to extend the vision & legacy of Nobel Peace Laureate George C. Marshall by alleviating suffering and promoting hope, growth, and stability in war-torn countries. A major obstacle in many of these troubled countries is the lingering presence of landmines that remain buried in the ground long after wars have ended. Sadly, tens of millions of these hidden killers are in over 60 countries around the world. Thus, MLI's primary mission is to establish practical, affordable and sustainable indigenous programs to help severely mine-affected countries ri...
Apr 10, 2015

Mine Detection Dogs Retire from Afghanistan

Retired Mine Detection Dog, Dino, with MLI
Retired Mine Detection Dog, Dino, with MLI's CEO

The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) partnered with the U.S. Department of State to retire and bring home 21 life-saving Mine Detection Dogs that had completed their work in Afghanistan and were ready to find loving homes.  All 21 dogs had worked between 6-8 years in Afghanistan, searching out more than 15 million square meters of land, locating thousands of landmines and other explosive remnants of war.  They recently arrived in the U.S. and are now joining families from around the country who are opening up their hearts and homes to these incredibly deserving dogs.  

Since 2007, MLI and the U.S. Department of State have donated 37 life-saving MDDs to four indigenous demining organizations in Afghanistan to save and improve the lives of Afghan citizens. After many years of wonderful service, twenty-one of these dogs were ready for retirement.  All MLI-donated dogs were sponsored by private Americans, including schoolchildren, who sponsored 5 dogs, raising $100,000!  The MDDs were specially trained by the Global Training Academy in Texas and the Mine Dog Center in Afghanistan to detect the explosive odors found in landmines. Landmines continue to plague much of Afghanistan: the result of multiple conflicts spanning more than 30 years.  Because these weapons of war are buried and can remain active & dangerous for decades, they are often difficult to find and continue to kill & injure hundreds of innocent men, women, and children each year.  MDDs have been working safely and effectively in Afghanistan to locate these mines for destruction.

 During their years of service with the Afghan demining organizations, these heroic dogs and their handlers searched and helped clear thousands of acres of mine-contaminated land throughout Afghanistan.  In just the past three years, MLI-donated dogs searched 1,415 acres!  This land, now free of mines, is available to Afghan communities for farming, grazing, return of refugees & internally displaced, infrastructure development, and other safe activities.   Although Afghanistan continues to suffer from landmines and other explosive remnants of war, these dogs have truly helped to make Afghanistan a safer and better place, and now deserve to spend their golden years relaxing in the comfort of loving homes.  None of MLI's dogs have been injured or killed while working and we are thrilled to be able to help find loving homes for these life-saving canines.

MDD Stitch arrived in DC during a snow storm!
MDD Stitch arrived in DC during a snow storm!
MDD Adra happy in her new home!
MDD Adra happy in her new home!

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Dec 5, 2014

Mine Detection Dog Betsy searches 60 acres of mine-affected land

MDD Betsy and Alden
MDD Betsy and Alden

  Thank you for your continued support of the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI)!  Because of your generous donations, MLI's life-saving Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) were able to "sniff out" more than 1,500 acres of mine-affected land in the past two years!   One of these remarkable dogs, MDD Betsy, has been working in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  MDD Betsy has been working with her handler, Alden Cesko, since 2009 at the Federal Administration of Civil Protection (FACP), which is doing great demining work in Bosnia with MLI's donated MDDs.  

  Alden and Betsy have formed an incredible bond over the past five years, as they work together daily to ensure that the people of Bosnia are safe from the deadly dangers of landmines. This year, FACP nominated Alden and Betsy for MLI's prestigious Mine Detection Dog Team of the Year Award, which is given to the top performing MDD team in the world.  In their nomination for Alden and Betsy, the FACP stated that, “Alden Cesko is one of the most respected and trusted handlers in the Federal Administration of Civil Protection. On many occasions his professionalism, personal bravery, technical expertise, and attitude towards work have made the key difference on tasks in which he was engaged. But what is the most inspiring about Alden is the love that he shares with his dog, Betsy.

   The trust and confidence that everybody at FACP has in this team regularly causes Alden and Betsy to engage in the most difficult demining tasks and in the most challenging situations in the field. For example, last year, during heavy forest fires, it was essential that fire trucks reach a town that was in danger of being completely engulfed by flames. With the fires blocking the roads into the town, the fire trucks' only other option was to gain access to the town through a nearby field that was known to be contaminated by landmines.  In almost unbearable conditions Alden and Betsy led a search party that cleared the path through the minefield and enabled the fire trucks to reach the fires and save the town from destruction."

   MDD Betsy and Alden have also performed heroic work during the past 9 months, following the catastrophic floods that hit Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2014. In addition to the terrible damage directly inflicted by the floods, another major issue has been the number of landmines that were washed out of marked mine-fields and into new and unknown locations.  Since the floods, landmines have been found in people's yards and in heavily populated areas that had previously been cleared of all mines.  Working in very difficult conditions and wading through piles of debris left behind by the floods, MDD Betsy and Alden have been searching for mines and UXO in these new unmarked areas, where it is suspected that mines may have drifted with the flood water.  They have located dozens of landmines in these searches, saving countless lives.

  Together, MDD Betsy and Alden have searched more than 60 acres of mine-affected land in Bosnia and Herzegovina, enabling thousands of people to use their land safely without fear of landmines.  Their hard work and dedication made MDD Betsy and Alden very deserving of MLI's 2014 Mine Detection Dog Team of the Year Award!  

  

Searching for landmines
Searching for landmines
Betsy "sniffing out" landmines
Betsy "sniffing out" landmines
Playtime!
Playtime!

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Dec 5, 2014

Landmine Survivors receiving the support they need

Ms. Allau
Ms. Allau

Thank you for your continued support and interest in the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) and our humanitarian programs. With your generous gifts, we are able to continue providing critically needed medical care and vocational training for landmine survivors around the world. Through our Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) and Survivors Assistance programs, we provide mine survivors in countries like Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen with vocational training classes that enhance their skills in sewing, computers, electrical repair, poultry production, and much more.  Additionally, each year, our Mine Risk Education classes reach thousands of people living in mine-affected communities, and we have helped hundred of severely injured survivors by providing them with critically needed medical care, prostheses, and mobility equipment.

For example, in Yemen, our programs are helping people like Wardah, a 35-year-old Yemeni woman who stepped on a landmine when she was 16 years old while she was helping her mother collect water from the well.  At the time, she was carrying 20 liters of water and thought she would take a shortcut off the road to shorten her journey.  Along the way, she tried to avoid the pieces of metal that poked out of the ground from the recent rain, but there was one piece that she saw too late.  ”Next,” she says, “everything went quiet…  I didn’t feel any pain at the time; I was only scared… I watched the sky and waited for the angels to take me.”

After losing her right leg in the explosion, she struggled to maintain hope for a bright future.  "The first year was the worst," she said, ”I was thinking that death would be more merciful to me, but my feelings have since changed, and, after receiving a new leg and participating in MLI's classes, I now feel that I can do something for my family, myself, and others.”

In Yemen, MLI collaborates with our in-country partner, the Yemen Association for Landmine and UXO Survivors (YALS), and with funds raised from private donors, MLI helps landmine survivors like Wardah by providing them with  medical assistance and the vocational training that they need to make them more successful in the job market.  Last year, through this program, Wardah received a prosthetic leg and participated in MLI's computer training class and, with the knowledge and skills she acquired through the training, she secured a job at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

Today, thanks to the prosthetic leg and the training she received in the computer class, Wardah says she has regained her hope for the future and is very grateful to everyone who has helped her.  Thank YOU for your continued support and for your generous gifts to support MLI's humanitarian programs that enable us to assist people like Ms. Allau.  

Landmine survivors in a computer training course
Landmine survivors in a computer training course

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