Female deminer Clementina freeing Angola of landmines
APOPO along with partner Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) is working in sites across Angola to help communities back on their way to sustained economic development by giving back safe land for agriculture and development. Clementina is one of the NPA deminers committing herself every day to remove the deadly threat of landmines.
"I used to be a market vendor in Luanda selling clothes and shoes," Clementina says. "But I wanted to have a more fixed job with a reliable income so I applied to be a deminer. NPA is a good employer who tries to balance things up by giving women jobs. This is not easy in Angola. I was very scared at first because of the landmines, but NPA trained me well and now, a year later, I don't even think about it, I just get on with my job."
The demining teams of NPA work closely together with the APOPO mine detection rat teams. "The rats have really added to our work by speeding everything up," explains Celementina. "I would look out at the fields and my heart would sink when I thought about how much work there is to do. But the rats are very good at covering the large areas where we think there may not be many mines. Then if they find them, or other explosive material, we can address them in a much more targeted way. This means that the rats can spend time searching big areas, and we are more focused. It is much more efficient."
"The work is hard. It is hot, slow and dangerous. But when I heard that Mozambique is now free of landmines, I was very proud. The people there have been freed and I am doing the same for Angolans," concludes Clementina.