A Landmine Survivor’s Second Chance

June 21st, 2018 | Stories

Kyaw Ye Aung is a 22-year-old landmine explosion survivor living in Shan Ywar village, Loikaw, Kayah State. He and his siblings have lived with his aunt’s family since their parents died when Kyaw Ye Aung was 16. Shortly after his mother died, Kyaw Ye Aung was injured by a mine near his village, and he had to have both of his legs amputated.

Before I met with World Education, I never talked with other people because they always looked down on me,” he said. “I always worried that if I said something wrong, they would get angry at me. I was afraid to talk to people and stayed at home. I tried to work by repairing TVs and videos but I did not have enough tools and repairing was difficult.”

Kyaw Ye Aung was one of 18 landmine survivors to attend World Education’s livelihood training in May 2014. During this training, he met many other landmine survivors and connected with them at the self-help peer group. After the livelihood training, he received an in-kind grant of the tools needed for his television repair shop and a pig to help with his aunt’s business.

After the training, Kyaw Ye Aung and his aunt were able to raise and sell the pig for a profit the pig and used that money to buy more livestock. Kyaw also took a vocational training class through the Department of Social Welfare to learn hair cutting and satellite repair for additional income. Kyaw Ye Aung also started a self-help group consisting of landmine explosion survivors, and teaches other survivors in his village to repair electronics and open their own shops like Kyaw Ye Aung.

After the livelihood training, Kyaw Ye Aung felt his social skills had also improved. His confidence grew, and he was more easily able to speak with others. He even participated in a Mine Risk Education Awareness event in Loikaw in October 2014; with support from World Education, he spoke in front of 300 people (including government officials, international organizations, and local community members) about his experiences as a landmine survivor and the importance of mine risk education. This was an incredible challenge for him, but with support and encouragement from his friends, his peer group of survivors, and World Education staff, he was able to overcome it, and his words touched many members of his community.

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