Local staff members from AAR Japan’s offices in Sudan and Afghanistan, who have been working on mine actions at their local sites, visit Japan.

Report from the sites of mine action

In April 2014, local staff members from AAR Japan’s offices in Afghanistan and Sudan, who have been providing landmine/UXO (unexploded ordnance) action, came to Japan to participate in training sessions and workshops here. They reported to the Japanese people what the current situation of landmine damage and injury is like and what kind of assistance they have been organizing; while sharing challenges, actions and creative ideas from daily operations with us.

Visitors from Afghanistan
Yama Hakami (on the left) has been working in our Kabul Office since 2005, in charge of mine risk education. This is his 6th visit to Japan to join our educational sessions. Nader Shah (on the right), at the age of 9, had a UXO accident in his neighborhood, losing both arms and sight in his right eye. Since 2006, Nader has been with AAR in charge of accounting in our Kabul Office. Pictured in the center is Yukie OSA, President of AAR.
Visitors from Sudan
Sana Bashir Ibrahim Elnaw (on the left) has been a speaker and in charge of the development of learning materials of landmine-risk education for AAR since 2008.
Yasir Mohammed El Ghaly Ahmed (on the right) has been working on the development of learning materials for mine risk education at our Khartoum Office since 2006.

Reporting their activities at a general meeting of the Diet Members’ Federation Who Push for a Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines

“With proper education, victims can change their lives just like me,” said Nader (April 10th, 2014).
On 10 April, these four visitors were invited by the Diet Members’ Federation Who Push for a Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines (Chairperson: Kenji KOSAKA and Chief Secretary: Yuko OBUCHI), which is a cross-party organization, to their general meeting. At this meeting, they reported on the current situation of landmine-related issues and various activities in their countries. This Federation was established in 1997, and plays a vital role in terms of Japan’s signing of the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines (Ottawa Treaty).
Nader, from our Afghanistan Office, who himself was a victim of UXO said: “Recently, not only landmines but also UXOs have been inflicting serious injury on us, especially on children in many cases. These children need educational support above all.” He also said, by way of appreciation for the Federation’s efforts and support from Japan: “Thanks to the support from Japan through AAR, I was able to acquire a command of English and computer literacy, which has enabled me to contribute to the reduction of mine damage in my country, just like the way I am doing now.” At the general meeting, the Diet Members’ Federation kindly donated 500,000 JPY to  AAR for the promotion of landmine-risk education and the provision of assistance to landmine/UXOs victims.

Introducing their activities as well as the culture and life in their countries

Sana, from our  Sudan Office
“I want to be helpful to those who live in the region that is contaminated by landmines/UXOs.
(April 11th, 2014 at the multipurpose hall of the head office of Global Youth Bureau Co., Ltd.)
On 11 April, a briefing session, “Report from Sites of Mine Action,” was held in the multipurpose hall of the head office of Global Youth Bureau Co., Ltd (Tokyo, Minato Ward.) These four visitors provided information about their activities and various facts about  their cultures and lives. Sana, from our Sudan Office, briefed us on an occasion when she met some landmine victims through the mine risk education activities, and also told us of difficulties and roles that are unique to women. She said, “In Sudan, an Islamic nation, it is not easy for a woman like me to provide activities in local villages. Women, to be accepted, are obliged to stay alert in terms of such things as what to wear and how to behave, paying respect to cultures and customs that differ from region to region. However, there are places that accept us because we are women and there are things that only women can cover and report on.”

After they listened to each other’s briefings, the members of the two offices exchanged their opinions, which included: “I think that an approach such as mine risk education through a  region-initiative style adopted by Afghanistan is very effective in the areas where public security has been deteriorating. I would like to put it to the test in Sudan, too.”
“In Afghanistan, experiences have led us to realize the importance of getting teachers and religious leaders involved in our activities. I sincerely hope that people in Sudan will give full consideration to this suggestion.”
Some participants in the session also gave us feedback, which included the following two examples: “It was interesting to me that how to tackle the same problem varies from country to country.”
“Nader, who overcame his misfortune and has been playing an active role, has truly inspired me.”
“We hope that our direct report to the Japanese people
will trigger a greater concern about landmine-related issues,”
said the four visitors.
(April 11th, 2014)
The donations received on this day amounted to 16,279 yen.
AAR will appreciatively make the best use of these
donations to provide further mine action.

AAR’s fulfillment of further mine action

Some 20 years have passed since AAR started to work on landmine/UXOs action, and this is the first opportunity for local staff members to exchange views and opinions with one another.
We will continue to do our utmost to accomplish further landmine action, sharing with one another our experiences and knowledge, as former local staff members have steadily accumulated in each country over the past two decades.

Please visit the websites below for further details of the activities of each country:
Activities in Afghanistan.
Activities in Sudan.

Masumi HONDA from AAR Japan’s Tokyo Office
Since September 2011, HONDA has been in charge of assistance-related projects. Since graduating from university in the U.S., HONDA has worked in the private sector, and has been with AAR. HONDA says, “Mine action is a must to build up a peaceful world.”