As a parent in Australia, it’s almost impossible for us to imagine what it’s like putting our life on the line every day just to make ends meet. Imagine if your daily commute to work involved driving down a road filled with unexploded bombs: one false move and you’re gone. But if you don’t do it, your family won’t eat.
Imagine having nowhere safe for your kids to play. In the end, they go and play on the road because at least there are no bombs there.
These are the choices faced by families in many parts of Laos because of millions of bombs dropped on their country during the Vietnam War. A war that ended almost 40 years ago. A war they had nothing to do with.
This doesn’t just continue to endanger lives but traps families in a cycle of poverty. Land filled with bombs can’t be used to build schools or grow crops. It can’t be used to provide essential infrastructure like safe play areas for kids or clean water systems. Without these things, communities can’t develop. They are stuck in a time warp.
It has been estimated that at the current rate of clearance, it will take a further 100 years to rid Laos of its underground dangers. That’s not much reassurance for families who are suffering now.
Will you do your bit to help?