UXO Education and Awareness
Phengta, a 13 year old student in Saravan Province was working in the rice fields with his parents when they found a UXO. Remembering his lessons from school, he told his parents not to touch it and reported it to his teacher and village authorities. A UXO clearance team destroyed the ordnance.
Khampha, an eight year old student in Champasack district, was playing with his friends near the school when they found a bombie. Because he had received mine risk education, Khampha knew not to touch or play with it. He and his friends reported the location to their teacher.
These stories are not unique. Teachers log these reports and inform their education departments after they have taught the UXO curriculum in their schools. Many students have reported that they and their families stopped collecting UXO to sell as scrap, a dangerous occupation that has resulted in many injuries and deaths when people move UXO. Students report that they share the information about UXO that they learned in school with their families, siblings, and community members. There is more knowledge about what to do when a piece of UXO is found and how to report the location to local authorities.
In 1999, with startup funds from the Arts and Healing Network, World Education contracted with the National Puppet Theater of Laos to train teachers and the first puppetry troupes in the four target provinces of Xieng Khouang, Houaphan, Savannakhet and Salavan Provinces. Subsequent funding from UNICEF, USAID and WRA has continued the development of the puppetry teams, transitioning to involving experienced teacher puppetry team leaders, as trainers for teams in districts entering the UXO Education and Awareness Program.
In addition to providing UXO information to the community, the members of puppetry troupes also take their education roles very seriously. Many of these students, who are in grades 3 – 5 in primary school, tell their fellow students and family members about UXO safety messages. Because they develop performance skills, they also tend to be more outspoken in class, and take their education very seriously. Over the long term, many of the puppeteers from past years have continued their education in high school and college.
|Related Project: UXO Education and Awareness Project (2011-2017)|