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.
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.
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
Children learn about each other through CHAMPS
Many children are injured by landmines in Yemen