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