The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) celebrated its 15th anniversary this year by holding its annual Clearing the Path Gala in Washington, DC. During the Gala, MLI honored a young landmine survivor who has been a true inspiration to others. Mohammad Abdul Karim has demonstrated bravery, exemplary behavior, and a tenacious spirit, despite having lost both of his arms and an eye in a landmine explosion four years ago.
Mohammad was born in 1998 in the village of Saref in Yemen, where he continues to live with his father, mother, six brothers, and two sisters. This year, he is beginning the seventh grade at the government school near his house. In Mohammad’s words, “On October 6, 2008, I was playing next to the mosque when I found something on the ground. I decided to take it home to show my father but before reaching the house there was an explosion. I didn't feel anything and I didn't realize what happened, rather all I could think about was that I had to reach my father to show him what I found. My father heard the explosion, but I entered the house just as he started to come out.”
His father, Abdul Karim, says that he met his son, covered in blood, at the door just inside their home and was paralyzed. But as Mohammad was trying to wipe his eyes with his broken right hand, he said, “Don’t worry Dad, I'm fine,” which Abdul says “made me strong enough to take him to nearest hospital.”
A few days after the accident, Mohammad asked himself, “How can I play with my friends again? Step by step some of the answers started to become clear and my friends started to get closer to me. My brothers and my parents encouraged me to continue my life normally. In the same year, I registered at the Yemen Association of Landmine Survivors (YALS) and the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC) as a landmine survivor. I soon began to understand that I am not only a mine victim.”
Unfortunately, Yemen was not able to meet his medical needs, so after the MLI Gala this past October, Mohammad remained in the United States and is currently being fitted with two prosthetic arms and is undergoing surgery next week to determine if some sight can be restored to his right eye. Mohammad loves English, computers, and soccer. He has an incredibly positive outlook on life and states, “I know the future will be better as long as there are people out there who love and help others, and I thank all the people who helped me.”
MLI is so grateful to supporters like you who have enabled us to help brave young men and women like Mohammad who have been injured by landmines. Thank you for your support!
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