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...
Aug 10, 2012

Update: Helping landmine survivors in Afghanistan

Akhter with his new leg!
Akhter with his new leg!

Afghanistan has been devastated by fighting and wars for many decades, which has left much of the country littered with landmines, unexploded ordnance, and other weapons that lie in wait for the unsuspecting foot of an innocent man, woman, or child.  Therefore, over the past several years, the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) has provided 28 Mine Detection Dogs to "sniff out" the landmines in Afghanistan, while also helping hundreds of landmine survivors by providing medical assistance and vocational training.

One of the young landmine survivors that MLI has been working with for the past several months is Akhter Mohammad, who was tragically injured when he was just 11 years old.  In 2007, Akhter was playing with his classmates outside of their school in the Rohi Doaab District of the Samangan Province when they discovered an anti-tank landmine and a smaller anti-personnel mine.  Not realizing that they were dangerous, Akhter and his friends began playing with the explosives, with tragic results.  The explosion that took place killed two of Akhter's friends and left him with a seriously injured leg and missing his left hand. 

After the explosion, Akhter lay bleeding for nearly an hour before his uncle found him and carried him home.  With no hospitals or clinics in the area, Akhter spent the next few weeks in agony as he recovered in his family home.  The pain in his leg continued to worsen and the family worried that the infection would spread throughout his body, so the uncle made the difficult decision to amputate Akhter’s left leg in order to save his life.

Despite the devastating circumstances, Akhter was determined to return to school and get an education.  His family could not afford a prosthetic leg to help him walk, so the next five years were a struggle, but Akhter persevered and is now in the 9th grade.

MLI's Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) has been raising money to help Akhter since March 2012, when we first learned of his tragic story.  Over the past few months, Akhter has been using one of MLI's computer centers in Afghanistan, improving his computer skills and learning English.  Thanks to the support of caring people like you, we recently were able to provide young Akhter with a prosthetic leg, enabling him to walk for the first time in five years!  Thank you for your generous support of the Marshall Legacy Institute as we work to promote hope, growth, and stability in war-torn countries like Afghanistan.

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Aug 3, 2012

Mine Detection Dogs in Angola - Update

MDD Kuito resting with her handler in Angola
MDD Kuito resting with her handler in Angola

Thanks to your support and that of other caring, global citizens, on May 9, 2012, Angola's first six Mine Detection Dog (MDDs) teams successfully completed their training and were accredited to the International Mine Action Standards.  All six MDD teams passed the test on their first attempt, demonstrating the excellent training and preparation they received during their eight months of intensive training.  The testing consisted of two phases: theoretical and practical.  During the first phase of testing, the dog handlers were tested on their knowledge of procedures; they were then asked to demonstrate the dogs’ obedience and their control over the dogs in front of the testing commission. The final, practical, part of the testing involved the dog teams searching 10x10 meter lanes and correctly marking the location of hidden explosives.   During the testing, attention was particularly paid to the commands issued by the dog handlers to the dogs, the dogs' search pattern, and their pace of work. Each dog team searched two lanes, with three mines hidden in each lane. After each dog marked the presence of a mine, the testing commission and the dog handler checked to confirm the indications.

The six MDDs have been incredibly productive since their accreditation. Their first task was outside of a village in the Bengo-Caxito province, where landmines prohibited residents from using the roads to access a nearby river.  Each of the MDDs searched an impressive 1,000 square meters of land each day.  At that pace, the MDD component was able to finish searching more than 15,000 square meters in just three days! 

After a short break, the MDD teams moved on to other tasks, ‘sniffing-out’ explosive substances along roads, railways, outside villages, and in an area that will be used to build a water-cleaning factory in Mexico province.  By mid-June, the component had already searched over 60,000 square meters of land – the equivalent of nearly 15 acres of dangerous, landmine-contaminated land that can now safely be used for farming, traveling, and infrastructure.

Thank you for your support of the Marshall Legacy Institute's Mine Detection Dog Partnership Program and for helping these life-saving dogs "sniff out" landmines! 

MDDs at work, searching for landmines in Angola
MDDs at work, searching for landmines in Angola

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May 3, 2012

Making a Difference

Landmine survivor living in Afghanistan
Landmine survivor living in Afghanistan

Since 1997, the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) has been working to help war-torn countries recover by promoting hope, growth, and stability.  Each year, thanks to our generous supporters, we are able to help hundreds of landmine survivors, providing them with the medical care and prostheses they desperately need, while also helping them find jobs and learn new skills.  

In addition to our work with landmine survivors, MLI provides Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) to mine-affected countries, which "sniff out" landmines and save additional people from the horrors of stepping on a mine.  In Afghanistan, MLI has donated 26 MDDs since 2007.  These remarkable animals have safely and effectively cleared millions of square meters of land, "sniffing out" 1.8 million square meters in 2011, or the equivalent of more than 450 acres.  The area that they cleared had been littered by landmines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO), endangering the lives of over 4 million Afghan people. 

Below are two interviews with individuals living in villages in Afghanistan that are in the process of being cleared of landmines:

Interview with Haji Abdullah, outside of Kabul:

 1.  Have you seen any kind of ERW causing you problems before? If so, what kinds of problems?

The existence of Mines and other ERW is a big problem in our country.  Afghanistan is a war torn country and because of 30 years of war people have faced many problems, one of these miseries is the placement of mines and other war remnants throughout the country. We have seen many mine accidents during this period which maimed and martyred many innocent Afghans in every part of the country. It has not only been a cause for the deaths and the injuries of innocent people but has prevented us from using our lands and made us migrate out of the country or at least move to other areas inside. Our agricultural and residential lands were contaminated with mines, which still are very big blows to our socio-economic status and has affected us very badly.

2.  What do you prospect, if any, will it make to your life when the clearance is completed?

The day when clearance is completed will be a great success in our lives.  Our villagers’ lives will become brighter because once again they will cultivate and build on their lands, which will solve their economic problems. Our village children will get education and they will complete the needs of becoming a Doctor, Architect, Teacher, and much more. The lives of villagers will be very cheerful and bright.

3. Can you give a specific example of a benefit that you expect? 

Agriculture is the biggest source of income for us because villagers have no other sources to earn money, so their only source of income is to cultivate their agricultural lands. We hope that our land is free of Mines and ERW so we will can begin cultivating our lands. Our economic problems will be solved.

 

Interview with a youth of the community:

1. Were the mines and ERW causing you problems before? If so, what kinds of problems?

There were lots of ERW and mines placed in our agricultural lands and we could not go to cultivate our lands, collect firewood and could not take our livestock for grazing. Some of our livestock have been killed by these hidden enemies. 

2. What difference, if any, will it make to your life when the clearance is completed?

There will be lots of differences after the successful completion of mines clearance programs, which will free our lands of mines and other unexploded ordinances. We will be able to walk safely and play football etc.

3. Can you give a specific example of a benefit that you can expect?

Our schools will reopen and students will be able to attend without worrying about stepping on a mine.

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Thank you for supporting the Marshall Legacy Institute and for helping us work towards a mine-safe Afghanistan!

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