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Buy a Leg!

March 8, 2011
Cooking can be dangerous in Laos.

In a village, children help their mother cook. The ground around the fire heats up – and so does the “bombie” hidden in it – the bomblet from one of the millions of cluster bombs dropped on Laos between 1964 and 1973.

In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic about 50,000 people have been killed or injured since 1964 from UXO (unexploded ordnance) incidents. And it’s still happening – every year there are about 300 new casualties, most of them children.

A visit to COPE (Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise) in Vientiane is a sobering but uplifting experience. Visitor Centre staff explain COPE’s role in a positive way. They focus not on the staggering scale of the bombing, but on the work they do and the people they help to get their lives back. The photos in this post show an artwork made from cluster bombs and a “tree” of artificial limbs – home-made ones on the bottom and COPE devices at the top.

COPE provides rehabilitation services and devices not just for UXO victims but for people with all types of disabilities, especially children. Reasons for needing COPE services include club foot, trauma, leprosy, and polio.

Check out COPE’s website here for more on what they do, including moving stories about individual patients. One page on the site reports on international efforts to ban cluster bombs.

You will also have the opportunity to buy a leg ($75) or an arm ($150) through a secure donation site.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2011 9:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing about this Bryce. I’ll be adding this charity to my regular list of donations, and I’ve posted it on my Facebook page to give it some extra publicity.
    Best wishes

  2. Bryce permalink*
    March 10, 2011 9:01 am

    Thanks, Lisa. Support for COPE can make a big difference to lives in Lao PDR.


  1. Vientiane « The Echidna and the Fox

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