Akhter with his new leg!
Afghanistan has been devastated by fighting and wars for many decades, which has left much of the country littered with landmines, unexploded ordnance, and other weapons that lie in wait for the unsuspecting foot of an innocent man, woman, or child. Therefore, over the past several years, the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) has provided 28 Mine Detection Dogs to "sniff out" the landmines in Afghanistan, while also helping hundreds of landmine survivors by providing medical assistance and vocational training.
One of the young landmine survivors that MLI has been working with for the past several months is Akhter Mohammad, who was tragically injured when he was just 11 years old. In 2007, Akhter was playing with his classmates outside of their school in the Rohi Doaab District of the Samangan Province when they discovered an anti-tank landmine and a smaller anti-personnel mine. Not realizing that they were dangerous, Akhter and his friends began playing with the explosives, with tragic results. The explosion that took place killed two of Akhter's friends and left him with a seriously injured leg and missing his left hand.
After the explosion, Akhter lay bleeding for nearly an hour before his uncle found him and carried him home. With no hospitals or clinics in the area, Akhter spent the next few weeks in agony as he recovered in his family home. The pain in his leg continued to worsen and the family worried that the infection would spread throughout his body, so the uncle made the difficult decision to amputate Akhter’s left leg in order to save his life.
Despite the devastating circumstances, Akhter was determined to return to school and get an education. His family could not afford a prosthetic leg to help him walk, so the next five years were a struggle, but Akhter persevered and is now in the 9th grade.
MLI's Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) has been raising money to help Akhter since March 2012, when we first learned of his tragic story. Over the past few months, Akhter has been using one of MLI's computer centers in Afghanistan, improving his computer skills and learning English. Thanks to the support of caring people like you, we recently were able to provide young Akhter with a prosthetic leg, enabling him to walk for the first time in five years! Thank you for your generous support of the Marshall Legacy Institute as we work to promote hope, growth, and stability in war-torn countries like Afghanistan.