Although the media and the American public have forgotten the tragic war in Bosnia during the 1990’s, LSN has not. The war is over, but 670,000 “live” landmines remain buried in Bosnia-Herzegovina. These subterranean weapons of terror continue to deliver devastation and suffering long after peace treaties are signed and conflicts forgotten. Landmines have killed over 4,500 people, and they continue to kill and maim innocent civilians. Bosnians live in fear—afraid to take a step, afraid to let their children play freely, afraid even to farm their land.
1997 — Our Global Work Begins
In 1997, when the Nobel Prize Committee was deciding to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), LSN co-founders, Jerry White and Ken Rutherford, and Diana, Princess of Wales, visited Bosnia-Herzegovina on a humanitarian mission. They saw firsthand the physical and psychological devastation that landmines cause. While in Bosnia, they visited survivors who tragically lost, not only their limbs, but also their will to live. They met victims who lacked adequate medical care, had no hope of regaining a normal life, and whose families did not know how to help or cope with life after limb loss. Inspired by Princess Diana and her passion for helping innocent victims, Landmine Survivors Network was established in Bosnia to help victims become survivors and rebuild their lives.
2006 — Our Work Continues
Today, LSN works in 12 of the most heavily mined regions of Bosnia-Herzegovina. LSN helps victims obtain medical care and new prosthetic limbs, provides job training and job placement services, and offers grants to start small businesses. In short, LSN empowers these individuals to once again become active members of their communities.
To date, LSN has changed the lives of over 6,000 Bosnian victims. In the past year alone, we helped nearly 500 landmine victims. Every day, our staff improves the lives of survivors and their families. Because they are amputees themselves, LSN Outreach Workers offer living proof of just how promising the future can be. They know where to find the right doctors and the right job opportunities. They offer companionship and counseling, and work with each survivor individually to find out exactly what is needed to help survivors on their journey from injury to recovery.
As LSN looks to the future, we will continue to respond to the needs of survivors. But in Bosnia and around the world, their needs are great. There are tens of millions of mines and explosive remnants of war buried in over 80 countries. We must help alleviate the human suffering and loss created by these insidious weapons. Our programs have reached survivors in 47 of the world’s most mine-affected countries. LSN will continue to stand by survivors until the day landmines are eradicated.