(Photo Top L- Bottom R): Titus Peachey, MCC worker, with Mr. Yong Yia (blue shirt), Governor of Xieng Khouang Province, and other officials (1982), with Mr. Bua La, National Cluster Bomb Project Director and cluster bombs on cattle grazing land in Xieng Khoang Province (1994), at the First Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane (2010), and speaking at James Madison University at the Voices from Laos Speakers Tour (2013),
Dear Friends of Legacies of War:
Twenty years ago (1994), I was a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) worker in Laos on a special assignment: work with the Lao Government and the Mines Advisory Group to implement a newly-signed agreement to begin a humanitarian demining program in Laos. Coming after years of failed efforts to find an effective solution to the problem of unexploded ordnance (UXO), it was a real joy to watch newly-trained Lao deminers begin work. As the first bombs were destroyed, decades of frustration and tragedy slowly gave way to fragile signs of hope.
Now, as a member of the Legacies of War Board, I am amazed by the dramatically reduced casualty rates, and a UXO sector that employs over 3,500 trained deminers, community educators and administrators.
Your strong support, coupled with the tireless advocacy efforts of Legacies’ board, staff, interns and volunteers, has helped make all this possible. We are truly grateful for your generosity!
We begin 2014 with some very good news. The budget bill just passed by Congress contains a record $12 million for unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance and victim assistance in Laos…the highest U.S. yearly total ever!
As we take stock at this 20 year milestone, we realize that there is still much work to do. Only a small fraction of the UXO has been destroyed, danger still lurks in many Lao villages, and many survivors of accidents will need assistance for the rest of their lives.
So our 2014 goals (see below) promise a year ahead filled with education, advocacy and opportunity. Please consider a donation today to get our year off to a strong start!
Legacies Board Member
Mennonite Central Committee Coordinator for Peace Education