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Kham Souk was in his 2nd year of high school when he picked up half a bombie, thinking it was a dud. He started carrying it to put it in a tree when it went off. Photo: Phil Borges

Nearly forty years after the end of the U.S. bombing in Laos, more than 100 Laotian villagers — 40 percent of them children — are killed or maimed every year by unexploded cluster bombs. About 80 million cluster bombs contaminate around one third of the land in Laos, posing a constant threat to the people and their economic security.

You can make a difference to end this deadly legacy. Your donation to Legacies of War can help change this terrible reality.

Join thousands of others around the country who have expressed their outrage and sadness and have taken action to make a difference. Here is what some of our supporters have said:

“For the children over in Laos the war still goes on. Let’s clean up our mess. I am a Vietnam Vet who served in the Air Force during that time.” – Reseda, CA

“I sympathize with the issues in Laos, even though I was not born there. The problem of UXO’s in Laos is more of a humanitarian issue rather than just solely being about Laos, the birth place of my parents and many of my friends.” – Yuba City, CA

The Hope Fund for Laos

Legacies of War is pleased to partner with World Education, a U.S.-based non-profit organization which has worked in Laos since 1992, to establish the Hope Fund. The Hope Fund will directly support UXO survivor needs now and also go towards increasing awareness in the U.S. on the need for additional funding to end the UXO legacy. Proceeds from the fund will be split evenly between World Education and Legacies of War so that each respective organization can utilize the proceeds to do what it does best — World Education to provide direct assistance to survivors in Laos and Legacies of War to educate and mobilize the American public to advocate for increased U.S. funding for bomb clearance, risk education and victim assistance in Laos. Help UXO survivors today and ensure that there is continued support to clear bombs and save lives.

You can also help by funding our programs over the next year to help bring healing, hope and transformation to the lives and communities of those affected by the wreckage of war. We must bring an end to the scourge of cluster bombs in Laos.

Our goal is to raise $50,000 to administer our education and advocacy programs over the next year, so we can increase awareness in the U.S. on the need for additional funding to clear the bombs from Laos and save lives. Here is what your donation can provide:

  • $20 will enable a student to participate in the Legacies of War curriculum and related programs.
  • $50 will enable us to do a community presentation or panel discussion.
  • $100 will help us to collect and showcase five stories for “Our Shared Journey.”
  • $500 will enable us to do outreach at a community event, including festivals and conferences.
  • $1,000 will help maintain our office in Washington, D.C., where we educate Congressional members about the need to fund the clearance of bombs from Laos.

Please consider sending whatever amount you can manage, whether it is $5 or $5,000. Every contribution will be greatly appreciated!

A boy leans against a fence made of bomb casings. Photo: Phil Borges

Through our education programs, including the National Traveling Exhibition, public school curriculum, film screenings, panel discussions and Congressional briefings, we have built a sustained and credible voice in the U.S. and internationally.

The recent political changes in Washington, D.C. and the signing of an international treaty to ban cluster bombs provide a unique opportunity to bring a change in policy. Laos hosted the First Meeting of the States Parties to the Cluster Munitions Convention in Vientiane on November 8-12, 2010. The next meeting will take place in Beirut, Lebanon, on September 12-16, 2011.

We have a better chance now to advance this issue than we have had in the last thirty five years. Our time is now.

In these challenging economic times, many of us are balancing tight budgets. But even in times of economic hardship, cluster bombs continue to kill or injure over 100 people in Laos every year–more than 20,000 civilians since the end of the war. It is more urgent than ever that we come together to solve this problem, so that the people of Laos can build a better future for themselves.

The need is urgent. We must work together to end this devastating humanitarian crisis.