Uganda: Supporting the Incomes Landmine Victims

Support for Landmine Victims in a Harsh Environment

A 20-year civil war has left the northwestern region of Uganda scattered with landmines and UXOs (Unexploded Ordnance). Most of these landmines and UXOs still remain in the ground, with injuries mounting every year. Victims often lose their jobs due to their disabilities, or sell their homes and businesses in order to raise money for treatment. According to research by the Ugandan Government in 2009, only 8% of these victims have a means of making an income.

In cooperation with ULSA (Uganda Landmine Survivors Association), AAR Japan has been supporting Ugandan victims of landmines and UXOs since 2009. At present, we are providing start-up assistance to 30 beneficiaries in Uganda’s northern Lira District, helping them start small-scale, self-owned business such as retail shops, salons, and second-hand clothing shops in order to attain financial stability.

Hope for a Better Future

May 14th, 2012 - AAR Japan provided commodities such as sweets, sugar and detergent to help Ms. ACIO (right) open a retail shop.

In 2003, Ms. Silvia ACIO, now 40 years old, was on her way to her second-hand clothing shop when the truck in which she was traveling struck a landmine and she lost her left eye. She was hospitalized for 6 months, and she had no choice but to sell her shop.

AAR Japan provided the necessary materials for her to open a retail shop, in addition to 2 months’ rent for her facilities. Just 2 weeks after opening, she says that her business is already profitable. She told us, “I’m raising two kids by myself because I was divorced after the accident. I want to make better profits so my kids can go to school, and I would also like to have my own house.”

May 14th, 2012 - Mr. MOSES (right) urges, “Please do not forget that there are still many victims in Uganda.” At left is Maki OKUBO of AAR Japan. 

Another beneficiary, Mr. Komakech MOSES, 26 years old, was provided with 2 months’ rent and the equipment to open a salon. Mr. MOSES, both of whose legs were amputated due to a landmine accident in 2002, hired a hairdresser and opened his salon one month ago. Now 7 to 8 customers come to his salon each day. He told us, “Thanks to the help of AAR Japan, I’m now able to have hope for a better future. I hope more and more people will be able to have hope by being given a chance to work.”

In addition to small-scale, self-owned business support, AAR Japan will also cover the cost for treatment, hospitalization and transport for 15 victims who need prosthetic limbs, rehabilitation, or surgery to remove fragments from their bodies.

Even now that the civil war has calmed, many people continue to suffer the effects of landmines and UXOs. AAR Japan will continue its support so that these victims can have hope for a better future. 

May 14th, 2012 - Having lost both his legs when he was a high school student, Mr. MOSES opened this salon with support from AAR Japan.

May 15th, 2012 - Solomon, 9 years old (center), lost his left leg and his father in a landmine accident. His mother, Ms. Janet ONYONG (front, 2nd from right) was given commodities to open a retail shop. She told us that she would like to make a profit from her new business so that her children can go to school. 2nd from left is Ms. Margaret ORECH, representative of ULSA. 

Maki OKUBO, AAR Japan Tokyo Headquarters
In charge of domestic and international projects since September 2011. While studying for her master’s degree in the US, worked as intern at an NGO working with street children in the Philippines. After coming back to Japan, worked at a governmental international aid organization assisting in projects in Japan and Uganda. (Born in Tochigi Prefecture)