The Vietnam war ended in 1975 (when I was a mere 8 years old), but its impact is still being felt in that country, often by small children who stumble across one of the unexploded ordnance still left in Vietnam and Laos. In fact, children make up 30-40% of the victims of unexploded bombs. Can you imagine if your child was playing in your backyard and accidentally stepped on a bomb?
Since 1989, Mines Advisory Group (MAG) has worked in over 35 countries to remove remnants of war, such as landmines and unexploded bombs, saving the lives of thousands each year in places like Vietnam and Iraq. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, MAG’s leading priority is to protect the lives and well-being of the most vulnerable individuals in contaminated areas by providing risk education and removing deadly weapons around the world.
WHY MAG’S WORK IS CRITICAL TO SAVE LIVES:
When MAG clears items, people can then use that land to farm or build roads for commerce or build schools. Many of the areas MAG clears such as Vietnam and Laos have items left over from U.S. bombings that ended over 40 years ago. A whole generation has had to live in fear because of these American remnants of war.
In addition, MAG hires many women and people with disabilities to do this work so that MAG can support people who typically have few job prospects in these poor countries. These women and people with disabilities are heroes in their community.
Koeun Ngoeun is a Cambodian woman who began working for MAG as a deminer in 1995 at the age of 29.
“I chose this profession because I wanted to work to support my family,” she explains. “We have always been extremely poor, and this was my chance to prove that I could help them.
“I wanted to make sure I could keep them safe, not just from poverty, but from dangerous items that are all over my province.”
MAG’s recruitment policies ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable people in communities are not only beneficiaries of mine/UXO clearance, but are also trained and employed to carry out the work.
Here is how MAG’s work has impacted the countries it helps:
• MAG cleared and destroyed more than 300,000 landmines and items of unexploded ordnance.
• As a result, more than 700,000 people were able to farm, build homes and schools and travel without fear of injury.
How You Can Help
And from now until December 31, 2013, every donation will be doubled through a one to one match by a group of MAG’s most supportive donors.
Donations can be made at www.magamerica.org/donate
Won’t you help give a child a safe walk home?
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Mines Advisory Group. All opinions are 100% my own.