Children at an orphanage bordered by a minefield
Thank you to our generous donors who helped remove landmines from the villages of Cambodia in 2014. We are now halfway to our project goal on GlobalGiving and every donation counts.
Last year HALO found and destroyed over 4,750 landmines in Cambodia, along with over 6,120 other explosive remnants of war (ERW). 275 minefields were cleared resulting in over 2,730 acres of land being returned to the rural poor for homes, farming, roads and schools. In the village of Banteay Ti Muoy, we have cleared 33 minefields between 2008 and 2014.
Here’s one story behind the statistics.
The David Center orphanage in Odtar Meanchey Province provides shelter, food and accommodation for 63 children. However, the agricultural land surrounding it is mined. Almost one quarter (22%) of mine/ERW casualties in Cambodia in 2014 were children. Their natural curiosity often leads them to pick up and play with dangerous items.
The orphanage manager, Mr. Bunna, said they were not aware of the danger that existed. Once HALO explained the risks Mr. Bunna told the children not to enter the hazardous area but even so they would sometimes sneak out and play there. During one such occasion, the children saw an item of UXO but fortunately left it alone and reported it to him.
A HALO Mine Risk Education (MRE) team has since visited the children to make sure they are fully aware of the dangers and stay off the land. HALO began clearance in July and over 11 landmines have since been found and destroyed. The clearance of this land will not only ensure the children’s safety and provide a greater area for them to play; it will allow Mr. Bunna to use the land for cultivation and grazing to better support the children.
Thanks again to all our donors and supporters worldwide who make our work possible.
We wish you a peaceful and prosperous New Year.