Hello to all at Blogidarity! My name is James Hathaway.
First, let me thanks Felix and crew for inviting my organization, Clear Path International, to participate in the Blogidarity project! What a great concept. We are honored to be the first organization chosen... I hope you all find our work as compelling as we do.
So what do we do? Clear Path works in southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia and on the Thai-Burma Border) assisting present day victims of landmines and bombs. Landmines and bombs left over from war, do not just disapear after wars end. Unless there is substantial funding to clear explosive remnants of war (ERW), these pieces of deadly debris will remain in the soil. ERW are not duds! They are just waiting for contact to explode. In Vietnam, we see accidents occur on a weekly basis!
Please see our video (narrated by NPR's Corey Flintoff here) on You Tube here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=tfVxoXvUO_Y
But this post is about success stories... and I have so far only given you the problem...
We have served over 2000 families. There are SO many success stories. We started blogging them years ago here. My heart, though, has been stolen by one of our survivors named Ha.
Ha lives on the on the Vietnam side of the Vietnam-Laos border. When she was just a girl, her mother was working in the garden and struck a piece of ordnance that detonated and sprayed Ha's three year old legs with burning white phosphorous. The burns fused her thighs to her calves... for nearly 20 years Ha walked on her knees.
As if that were not enough, her parents died while Ha was a teenager and she was forced to raise her younger brothers and sisters.... from her knees.
When Ha learned of an open Clear Path outreach clinic for victims of unexploded ordnance in 2002, she hitchhiked a TWO HOUR DRIVE ON HER KNEES to see if we could help. When she made her way into our clinic, she was offered lunch, but refused it in order to be able to give the food to her younger siblings when she returned home.
Ha has had numerous operations since the day she crawled into our clinic. I can so proudly say that today she is walking again. Her story always brings tears to my eyes because of her courage and selfless nature.
If not for donors to Clear Path International, this success story (which is truly Ha's success story) would not be possible. She is not the only survivor of these types of accidents, she is just the I have chosen to tell you about today..... and I hope you will take the time to tell many, many more about this brave, young woman, who stole my heart.