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...
Jun 30, 2014

Helping Landmine Survivors in Yemen

Children in Yemen learn about landmines
Children in Yemen learn about landmines

      Thank you for your ongoing support and interest in the Marshall Legacy Institute's (MLI) humanitarian programs.  With your help, we are working to create a safer and better world for all people and animals.

     One of our programs, the Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS), not only connects children in mine-affected countries with youth in the United States, enabling them to communicate via video conference on a regular basis and expand their global citizenship, but the program also includes a service learning component that involves all of the children in mine-action.  In Yemen, CHAMPS youth receive Mine Risk Education (MRE) and then teach other children what landmines look like, why they are dangerous, and how to avoid them.  They also locate and befriend mine survivors and introduce them to American students, who then raise funds to help the survivors in a variety of ways. In the past year, MLI has provided mine risk education, psychological counseling, vocational training, and prosthetic limbs to dozens of landmine survivors in Yemen.  One of these survivors, Abdulfatah Mohammed, shares his story below.  

 
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                                               A Landmine Survivor's Story

 

Abdulfatah begins his story by invoking the following proverb: 

"When old people fight, it is the young who will be the victims."  

      "On a hot day in 2000, I was on my way to school, lagging behind my friends with my nose in a book to prepare for an exam later that day.  At the time, my village and the neighboring village where I attended school were fighting with each other, but despite the daily challenges of getting to and from school safely, I had dreams of becoming a doctor and I attended school enthusiastically with my friends.  But on that particular day, my foot landed on a buried mine and changed my life forever."

 

Abdulfatah now works at the Internet 
cafe established by MLI while he attends university

 

      Abdulfatah continues his story, explaining that his friends were too scared to move him, as they had already passed over the area where the mine exploded and were afraid that there were even more landmines lurking just out of sight in the ground.  Luckily, other people from the nearby village heard the explosion and rushed out to care for him, saving his life.  But although his life was saved, the mine's explosion damaged his right leg so severely that it needed to be amputated and resulted in him missing two years of school because he wasn't able to walk the 40 minutes to and from school each day.

       Today, nearly 14 years after his horrific accident, Abdulfatah is finally regaining hope for the future.  With the support of the U.S. Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), and in collaboration with the Yemen Association of Landmine Survivors (YALS), American children raised funds through CHAMPS that enabled a psychologist to speak with Abdulfatah and nineteen other landmine survivors about having patience with their disability, tactics to reintegrate into their communities, and ways to become economic contributors and providers for their households.  Abdulfatah recounts that, "during the Psychological Rehabilitation Training, I learned many lessons on how to face life with resolve and to continue high school.  I am now studying in the third level of my Trade & Finance College."

       Abdulfatah was also hired to manage the Internet café established by MLI in 2010, which enables him to have an income while he attends university.  Although it means a lot of work, he is determined to provide for himself and his family, so that he does not need to rely on others' aid.  He is very grateful to all of MLI's supporters who have helped him regain hope and lead an independent life.

                                                                             *********************************

       Unfortunately, there are many landmine survivors like Abdulfatah in Yemen, but, with your help, MLI will continue to provide them with much needed support, including prosthetic limbs and other forms of medical assistance, vocational training, pyschological counseling, and mine risk education.  Thank you for your support of these vital projects.  We look forward to continuing to share with you how your generosity has made a positve impact on the lives of those living in mine-affected countries.

 

 

    

MLI provides prostheses to survivors in Yemen
MLI provides prostheses to survivors in Yemen
Children learn about each other through CHAMPS
Children learn about each other through CHAMPS
Many children are injured by landmines in Yemen
Many children are injured by landmines in Yemen

Links:

May 19, 2014

"Sniffing out" Landmines and Saving Lives

MDD and handler training in simulated mine-field
MDD and handler training in simulated mine-field

Thank you for your support of the Marshall Legacy Institute and our humanitarian work.  Your generous support of our Mine Detection Dog Program on Global Giving is enabling us to provide even more dogs who are "sniffing out" landmines and saving lives all around the world.  We have donated 195 life-saving dogs to 11 countries, and just last year, our active dogs searched more than 3 million square meters of mine-affected land, or 750 acres!

In countries like Iraq, MLI has provided 12 Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) to the Iraqi Mine & UXO Clearance Organization (IMCO) to search for landmines.  In just the past few months, these heroic dog teams searched 63,400 square meters, or approximately 15 acres, of mine-contaminated land near Basra. IMCO has embarked on a large, multi-phase project to clear 4 million square meters of land in the Shatt Al-Arab district, a district within the Basra Governate.  The district is at the mouth of the Euphrates and Tigris River and is an important hub for business, transportation, and tourism, but in recent years, the industries have suffered as a result of the dangers posed by landmines in the area. This area also was historically home to the largest date palm forest in the world. In the mid-1970s, the region included 17 to 18 million date palms, an estimated one-fifth of the world's 90 million palm trees. But by 2002, war and the consequences of war, like landmines, had wiped out more than 14 million of the palms, and the remaining 3-4 million trees are now in very poor condition.  Thanks to the work of MLI's MDDs, this area is progressing towards becoming mine-safe, and the Iraqis are hopeful that this will not only allow the local economy to prosper, but that eventually the area will once again be home to millions of healthy date palm trees.  The dogs are saving countless lives and enabling people to farm on land that has been off-limits to them for years. 

Three weeks ago, MLI’s President, Perry Baltimore, visited IMCO and was able to spend some time with each of the MDDs and their handlers.  Perry was very impressed by the teams and spent time speaking with each handler, including Ali Naim, who said that he really enjoys being a dog handler and has become quite attached to his MDD.  He mentioned that he often brings his dog home with him to play with his young children and that the dog is incredibly friendly and well-behaved.  He said they also spend a lot of time continuing to train in IMCO’s simulated mine-field to ensure that they stay in peak condition for their field-work around Basra.  Perry was able to watch them train and was pleased to see how well the MDDs are able to quickly and accurately locate the presence of a mine’s explosive odor.  All of the dogs also clearly enjoys the work!

Thank you for your support of the Marshall Legacy Institute and our humanitarian programs!  We are so pleased to be able to share with you the life-saving working being done by our MDDs around the world.   Thanks to your generosity, these incredible dogs are able to impact the lives of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children and are making the world a safer place for children to play, people to work, and communities to grow without fear of landmines.

MDD Team working in a mine-field near Basra
MDD Team working in a mine-field near Basra
MDD Team working in a mine-field
MDD Team working in a mine-field

Links:

Feb 20, 2014

Making a Difference for Landmine Survivors

Young woman recently fitted with a prosthetic hand
Young woman recently fitted with a prosthetic hand

       Thank you for your continued interest in the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) and our humanitarian programs.  Because of the generosity of people like you, we have been able to positively impact the lives of thousands of landmine victims and their family members.  We are continuing to work hard in places like Iraq, where the civilian population has suffered incredibly from landmines and other explosive remnants of war.  Both young & adult landmine survivors face long-term medical and psychological challenges. As young survivors grow, costly prostheses require replacement, repair, and maintenance.  Landmine survivors often suffer psychological distress and require continued medical care & social integration.  Unfortunately, these survivors and their families generally are unable to afford this care, and there is little psychological counseling available to children.  

       Even where rehabilitation facilities exist to provide artificial limbs and other medical care, survivors often lack transportation to travel to the facilities for the multiple appointments required for evaluations and fitting of artificial limbs. Because of their disabilities, landmine/war survivors also suffer high unemployment rates.  Specialized vocational rehabilitation is limited, and when offered, is often unavailable to survivors who lack transportation.  

       Thousands of landmine survivors in Basra, Iraq are facing these issues, so last year, in partnership with the Iraq Mine and UXO Clearance Organization (IMCO) and the U.S. State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), MLI initiated a program to identify, interview, register, medically support, transport, train and help find jobs for these survivors. This ambitious & comprehensive program has been very successful thus far: over 2,000 survivors have been interviewed, evaluated & registered in the national database of persons with disabilities; 75 survivors have received prosthetic limbs, eyes, and/or orthotic braces; dozens have received special walking sticks and/or wheelchairs; 30 female survivors have successfully completed a sewing course and are now earning an income; and 17 survivors graduated from an air-conditioning repair course and are becoming employed in areas where they live. Additionally, MLI purchased a bus to transport survivors to medical appointments, training, and employment sites; and we provided specialized training to doctors & technicians at a local rehabilitation center to improve the quality of care for those who suffer traumatic injuries.  We hope to continue to grow this important program in the coming year and look forward to providing you with updates.  

       Thank you again for your generous support.  Because of you, we are able to help even more people who have been injured by landmines.  To learn more about MLI's various programs around the world, including our Mine Detection Dog Partnership Program, please visit our website at www.marshall-legacy.org.

Recent graduates from the air conditioning class
Recent graduates from the air conditioning class
Young boy being fitted with a prosthetic leg
Young boy being fitted with a prosthetic leg
Iraqi man being fitted with a new leg
Iraqi man being fitted with a new leg

Links:

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