Help a Landmine Victim Walk Again

 
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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.

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       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:

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:

Oct 15, 2013

Survivors' Assistance Update in Iraq

Ms Hassan standing on her new leg for the 1st time
Ms Hassan standing on her new leg for the 1st time

      Thank you for your support of the Marshall Legacy Institute's (MLI) Survivors' Assistance programs around the world.  Our largest program assisting survivors is the Partnership for Iraq (PFI) program, which is a public-private partnership program that is helping the tens of thousands of landmine survivors who are living in and around Basra, Iraq.  With matching funds from the U.S. Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), MLI has partnered with IMCO and the POLUS Center to create a unique and centralized system to: 1) provide vocational training and medical assistance for survivors in a new facility, 2) provide specialized training and equipment for Iraqi doctors so that they will be able to better assist mine survivors, and 3) create a national registration list for mine survivors, so that their needs can be better assessed and met.

     Last May, MLI's Vice President of Children's Programs and Survivors' Assistance, Kimberly McCasland, visited the PFI's headquarters in Basra, Iraq to monitor the program's progress. Though the region continues to be quite dangerous and there were several bombings in Basra during the visit that limited her mobility, she was able to visit the Basra Rehabilitation Center (BRC) and met with 20 male landmine survivors who were attending the Air Conditioning Vocational Rehabilitation Course, as well as a beautiful young woman named Iman Hassan. 

          While visiting, Kimberly learned of the terrible accident that occured when Ms. Hassan stepped on a landmine as a toddler.  The explosion caused her to lose one of her legs up to the hip, and though she received emergency treatment for her injuries, she had never received a prosthetic limb, and so had been forced to use crutches to move around since a very young age.  When Kimberly asked the doctors at the BRC if we could help get Ms. Hassan a prosthetic leg, they explained that it was impossible and that they were not capable of making a prosthetic limb for someone with such extreme limb loss. 

            As part of the PFI program, MLI has been partnering with doctors from the POLUS Center, who are training Iraqi doctors in new techniques to treat mine survivors.  One of the POLUS doctors, Dr. Dave Evans, was with Kimberly when she was speaking with the BRC doctors and he excitedly assured everyone that he could, in fact, find a way to provide a prosthetic limb for Ms. Hassan.  He examined Ms. Hassan and, despite doubts from the doctors and technicians at the BRC, he was positive that he could help.

            Over the course of the next month, Ms. Hassan was accompanied by Ms. Gaida, the PFI Manager and IMCO's CHAMPS manager, for each of her appointments with Dr. Evans and the BRC doctors. During that time, Dr. Evans not only built her a prosthetic device that enabled her to walk on her own for the first time since she was a toddler, but he was also able to teach the doctors and technicians at the BRC how they could incorporate this new hip and leg prosthesis technology so they could help additional survivors!

            Because of your support for MLI's Survivors' Assistance programs, this young woman is able to walk without crutches for the first time in her memory.  She has also enrolled in the PFI's Vocational Rehabilitation Center's programs and is taking a computer class.  Now that she has so much more mobility, she hopes to receive advanced computer training over the next year so that she can begin teaching computer courses to others!  Her new leg has given her a new sense of hope for the future and she is so grateful to everyone who has made this possible.

Links:

Jun 17, 2013

Marshall Legacy Institute - Survivors' Assistance Update

Mohammad at 11 years old
Mohammad at 11 years old

Thanks to your support, the Marshall Legacy Institute's (MLI) Survivors' Assistance programs around the world continue to improve the lives of thousands of landmine survivors.  Last year, one of the children MLI helped was a young boy named Mohammad who lost both of his arms and his eye in a landmine explosion when he was just 10 years old. Mohammad had been playing near his home in Yemen when he found an unexploded mine on the ground.  Thinking it was a toy, he picked it up and ran back to share his exciting new find with his father.  Unfortunately, just before he arrived at his house, the landmine exploded, drastically changing this child's life forever.  

MLI's President, Perry Baltimore, met Mohammad when he was visiting Yemen on a program assessment visit and was struck by this young man's positive spirit, despite his lost limbs and eyesight.  Last October, MLI honored Mohammad at our annual Clearing the Path Gala with the Survivors' Assistance award.  With the assistance of generous donors, Mohammad was able to not only fly to the U.S. to receive the award, but remained in America so that he could be fitted with functional prosthetic limbs at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.  The bulky prosthetic arms/hands were very heavy for him at first, but he was determined to get stronger so that he would be able to use them effectively.  Over the past six months, Mohammad has been working diligently and is doing extremely well with his new arms/hands, which enable him to do many things that he could not do before.  He is now at the top of his 7th grade class and, just last week, sent the email below to MLI's President to share his great progress.

"Dear Mr. Perry,

I am writing this email to you by myself using my prosthetics hands and Mr. Alawi is helping me in translation.

I just finished my exam today after hard homework and I am sure that I will get succeed.

Regarding my prosthetics hands, I am using them every day and when I feel tiredness, I started to remember all your efforts for me to get the prosthetics then I wear them and day by day I started feeling comfortable.

Thank you very much and thanks for all people assisted  me to get prosthetics hands.

Please see the attached picture of me taking by Mr. Alawi during writing this letter.

My best regards to all MLI staff.

Mohammed"

MLI is so grateful to supporters like you who have enabled us to help the many men, women, and children, like Mohammad, who have been injured by landmines.  Thank you for your support!

Mohammad in the US, learning to use his new limbs
Mohammad in the US, learning to use his new limbs
June 2013 - Mohammad typing with prostheses
June 2013 - Mohammad typing with prostheses
June 2013 - Mohammad in Yemen
June 2013 - Mohammad in Yemen

Links:

Mar 11, 2013

Supporting Landmine Survivors - An Update from the Marshall Legacy Institute

Mine survivor learns to walk with a prosthetic leg
Mine survivor learns to walk with a prosthetic leg

Thanks to your support, the Marshall Legacy Institute's (MLI) Survivors' Assistance programs around the world continue to improve the lives of thousands of landmine survivors.  In Iraq, MLI recently launched a large scale program to assist the more than 50,000 mine survivors who are living in and around the Basra area.  

Both young & adult landmine survivors in Basra face long-term medical and psychological challenges after their injuries have occurred.  As young survivors grow, costly prostheses require replacement, repair and maintenance.  Survivors often suffer psychological distress and require continued medical care & social integration.  Unfortunately, these survivors and their families are usually unable to afford this care.  Even if a prosthetic facility exists to provide the prostheses, survivors rarely have a mode of transportation to take them to the multiple appointments required for evaluations and fitting of prosthetic limbs.  Additionally, because of their disabilities, landmine/war survivors suffer high unemployment rates and specialized vocational rehabilitation is virtually nonexistent for survivors, condemning both the survivors and their families to a lifetime of struggle and isolation.  

Therefore, with support from private Americans like you, the U.S. State Department, the Iraqi and UXO Clearance Organization (IMCO), and the Polus Center, MLI launched the Partnership for Iraq program in 2012.  This program is the first of its kind and is creating a unique and centralized system to: 1) provide vocational training and medical assistance for survivors, 2) provide specialized training and equipment for Iraqi doctors so that they will be able to better assist mine survivors, and 3) create a national registration list for mine survivors, so that their needs can be better assessed and met.

In the past two months, the first 90 landmine survivors began receiving vocational training classes.  Thirty young women were identified and the first 10 have already begun sewing classes, while an additional 60 young men will soon be trained in office work, carpentry, etc.  Upon completion of their training, the survivors will all be given certificates of completion and will receive assistance in finding sustainable employment.  Additionally, 70 survivors in need of mobility assistance will soon be given prostheses and wheelchairs, including one electronic wheelchair for an individual who lost both of his legs and an arm in a landmine explosion.

Thank you for your continued support of the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) and for your efforts to help us make the world a better and safer place for all.


Young landmine survivors in Basra, Iraq
Young landmine survivors in Basra, Iraq

Links:

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Tycie Horsley

Arlington, VA United States

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