With unexploded bombs still posing a threat in countries like Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the day is aimed at raising awareness about an issue that continues to trap communities in an ongoing cycle of poverty.
Having recently launched the Global Community program, a form of sponsorship allowing Australians to support and connect with remote communities, ChildFund is encouraging Australians to help improve the lives of families in Laos still affected by widespread UXO contamination.
“Laos is the most bombed country in the world per capita, with an estimated 270 million tons of sub-munitions from cluster bombs dropped during the Vietnam War,” said Nigel Spence, CEO of ChildFund Australia. “One in three failed to detonate, resulting in families living in fear of their children accidentally setting off undetonated bombs.”
The Global Community program in Nonghet helps Australians provide long-term solutions for one of the poorest rural districts in Laos, where families continue to face the daily risk of injury or death from UXOs.
In Nonghet, 50 per cent of children under five are chronically malnourished and only two-thirds of children finish primary school. UXO contamination also affects the availability of safe spaces for children to play and the amount of land available to grow food and make a living.
Establishing education and healthcare facilities, teaching sustainable ways to farm and raise livestock on land that has been cleared of bombs, as well as improving water and sanitation are all long-term goals aimed at bringing the Nonghet community out of poverty.
Leveraging social media, Australian supporters and the Nonghet community will be able to communicate and share their experiences through a dedicated Facebook page, an increasing trend among not-for-profit organisations to provide more sustainable and efficient avenues for communication with developing countries.
Facilitated by ChildFund, supporters also have the opportunity to visit Nonghet twice a year to view first-hand how their support is enabling change.
Mr Spence concluded: “Today’s International Day of Mine Awareness is a reminder that while conflicts like the Vietnam War may have ended, the ramifications continue to affect developing communities in the Asia Pacific. Through our Global Community program, ChildFund provides support for remote communities such as Nonghet, still struggling with undetonated bombs almost 30 years after the Vietnam War ended.”
For more information on Global Community, visit www.childfund.org.au/nonghet#GCN