PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM MINE-RELATED ACCIDENTS IN SCHOOLS ALONG THE CONTACT LINE
Wednesday 4 April 2018
To build resilience amongst children against risks of mines, unexploded ordinances (UXO) and explosive remnants of war (ERW), a Save the Children mobile team of 3 facilitators has been conducting sessions on Mine Risk Education (MRE) in schools and Early Childhood Care and Development units along the contact line in Eastern Ukraine. The facilitators use 2 different methodologies for children of pre-school and primary school age (drama-based performance with age-appropriate messages) and children of secondary school age (lectures and follow up discussions). All 3 facilitators were trained and certified by the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action as part of Save the Children’s ongoing MRE Program. The locations of implementation of the activities were discussed and agreed with the MRE sub-cluster to ensure greater coordination, avoid overlap with other organisations and target locations most in need of MRE. So far, 27,966 children (13,927 girls and 14,039boys) have participated in MRE sessions since 2016.
Recently, Save the Children conducted sessions on MRE in Shchastya (Luhansk oblast) for two groups of children of primary and pre-school age. The facilitators explained that MRE seeks to prevent harm to civilians from all types of victim-activated explosive devices. During the MRE session, children received life-saving information: how to behave if they see a suspicious object, why it cannot be touched, how to get out of the minefield, how to recognize local warning signs, how mines and other ERW are affecting the lives and wellbeing of the community.
“These days, it’s very important to remind children how dangerous mines could be. They are so young, sometimes they forget that we are living in the middle of a conflict, that abandoned houses or fields are not safe, and it’s a big risk. As adults we are responsible for what is happening now, so it is our duty to raise children’s awareness about mines!” explained Julia*, teacher in Shchastya.
Save the Children gratefully acknowledges financial support provided for this Program by the Education Cannot Wait Fund.
MRE session in Shchastya. Credits: Olha Sydorova/Save the Children
MRE session in Shchastya: Lena*, 14, is learning how to leave a minefield safely. Credits: Olha Sydorova/Save the Children