|Muppets Teach Children about Landmines in Afghanistan
Did you know that in more than 80 countries around the world, landmines pose a deadly threat to children? Children make up about 20% of the estimated 15,000-20,000 people killed or disabled annually by these lethal weapons.
Muppets, which have taught countless children basic lessons such as counting and the alphabet, are now teaching children in Afghanistan a vital lesson about landmines that could be the difference between life and death.
To teach children about the dangers of minefields, Johnie McGlade of No Strings International, worked with two members of Muppet-creator Jim Henson’s original team to create “The Story of the Little Carpet Boy.” In the video, children learn what mines look like, where they are, and how to avoid them. They follow the story of Muppet Chuche Qhalini, who loses an arm and both legs before learning his lesson.
“I liked the film,” said Masiha, an 11-year-old girl in Kabul. “I learned that you should stay away from fields that have red stones. There are mines there.” She also enjoyed the story’s happy ending when Chuche receives his wish to become a real boy and gets his limbs back.
Unfortunately, the personal stories of most child landmine victims don’t end as happily as Chuche’s. Because of their small size and fragility, 85% of children injured by landmines die before they reach the hospital. And for those who survive, life can be very hard indeed.
Children are particularly vulnerable, as they undertake activities that place them at higher risk for accidents, such as collecting firewood and herding animals. Appallingly, children frequently mistake mines, detonators and other unexploded ordnance for toys.
Many victims are from isolated rural areas; from families too poor to afford rehabilitative care or prosthetics — which children outgrow quickly. Many young people injured by mines and unexploded ordnance are also forced to leave school. And in cultures that consider disabilities wholly unacceptable and shameful, it’s not unusual for survivors — even young ones — to be cast out of their homes and communities. Without intervention, child landmine survivors are particularly at risk of neglect.
But thanks to help from friends like you, LSN is paving the way to a brighter future for young landmine survivors. LSN has provided both child and adult survivors with one-on-one peer support, referrals to medical care and rehabilitative services, including the purchase of prosthetics.
In addition, LSN has established a network of community survivor groups — including those exclusively for child survivors — to facilitate their physical and psychological recovery, and help them reintegrate into their communities.
Your generosity will help LSN reach out to more children in need of our help around the world. Together, we ensure that more child landmine survivors receive the medical care, and rehabilitative services that they need to live with dignity, respect and financial security.
For more information, and to help make a difference in the lives of survivors, please donate now.