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.
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