Afghanistan

Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan Newsletter: December 2011

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SCHOOLBAGS WITH MINE RISK MESSAGES HANDED OUT IN 75 KANDAHAR SCHOOLS

This month, Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan (MACCA) distributed schoolbags with messages about mines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) to 75 schools in Kandahar. The messages, part of MACCA’s Mine Risk Education (MRE) initiatives, were printed in both local languages and targeted schoolchildren and, through them, their families in an area that has witnessed many mine and ERW accidents.

Dand district’s Kalantar Secondary school is one of the schools where the bags with MRE messages were distributed. “The good thing about having these messages on school bags is that it always reminds students about the treats of mines and other explosives,” said Daad Mohammad, Kalantar Secondary School teacher.

Children and young people in contaminated villages in Kandahar city tend to fall victim to mines and explosives while collecting scrap metal for sale or play.

Daad Mohammad said: “I think it is very important for students and children know about the risks of mines and other explosives. They should know that these explosive items can take their lives or any part of their body.”

Noor Ahmad, a student at the Kalantar Secondary School, is more aware of the dangers of collecting unknown metals from the contaminated areas of his village since he has seen the MRE messages emblazoned on the schoolbags.

He said: “I will not even go to those areas contaminated with mines and other explosives, since now I know it is very dangerous and I may lose my life or a part of my body.”

Kalantar Secondary School Principal, Taaj Mohammad, said: “I would request MACCA to extend the distribution of these bags to other provinces as well, so that we keep students informed of the risk of mines and other explosives.”