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A sign warns of explosive weapons contamination in Laos
Laos

Years after bomb blast, Joc raises awareness for inclusion

As a child, Joc was injured by a cluster munition in Laos. Today, Humanity & Inclusion provides support to the young man who lives with multiple disabilities.

When Joc was 5, he was searching for worms to use as fishing bait in his village in northeast Laos. As he was digging in the ground, he came across an older cluster munition that was buried. It exploded. Joc spent a month in the hospital following the incident. His left arm was amputated, and he has had difficulties with hearing well ever since.

In the 14 years since the incident, Joc has found himself feeling marginalized. Daily activities like getting dressed, cooking and riding a bike are difficult. School was challenging because he was unable to hear his teacher or socialize with friends.

In 2019, Joc attended a training course organized by Humanity & Inclusion for the inclusion of people with disabilities. Soon after, Joc became an inclusion ambassador for Humanity & Inclusion; he supports, advises and integrates other people with disabilities in his village.

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“Having a survivor like Joc as a local ambassador on inclusion helps us to raise awareness of communities on the fact that survivors and people with disabilities have the right to participate meaningfully in all decision-making processes that affect them,” says Julien Kempeneers, a regional armed violence reduction specialist for Humanity & Inclusion.

This year, Joc, who is now 19, attended a livestock training organized by Humanity & Inclusion. Raising animals will be a great opportunity for Joc to generate income and become even more independent.

"I want to have a good future, to be included in the society, to live happily and independently,” Joc explains.

Weapons clearance in Laos

Laos has the highest level of cluster bomb contamination in the world. Nearly 500 square miles of land is considered to be dangerous.

Humanity & Inclusion launched its first weapons clearance operations in Laos in June 1996, removing contamination of exploded bombs, bomb fragments, explosive remnants, grenades, and other ammunitions. Deminers also detect larger, unexploded bombs—often weighing several hundred pounds—transport them to a specialized site to be safely detonated.

Since 2006, Humanity & Inclusion has decontaminated more than 1,200 acres of land in Houaphan and Savannakhet provinces. Since 2019, Humanity & Inclusion has destroyed 6,710 unexploded ordnances in Laos.

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