Coalition Against Landmines(CALM) 

Helping child landmine survivors get limbs and attend school

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Dessu Sam  


Dessu noticed the increasing number of civilian landmine victims in Ethiopia in the 1980s. Among them were children between the ages of five and 12.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, the Ethiopian government in collaboration with the International Red Cross paid for rehabilitation and prosthetic needs of the members of injured military personnel. However, poor children and civilian landmine survivors had to pay from pocket for their rehabilitation services. Child victims and their families travel several hundreds of miles to get to rehabilitation centers in Addis Ababa (the capital city). Most end up being homeless on the streets of Addis for they cannot afford to stay in the city as well as pay for the prosthesis.


Having learned this, life was never the same for Mr. Dessu. With dedication and full support of his colleagues, Dessu moved forward to help child landmine survivors in Ethiopia. 


With the help of 8th Day Church, which has its roots in the Church of the Savior in Washington, DC, Dessu took the lead in establishing CALM. Dessu graduated from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.


Shumye Gebrehiwot


Mr. Shumye worked as a program Director for the U.S. based Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) in Ethiopia. Shumye suffered injuries and right leg above knee amputation from the civil war in Ethiopia. He represented LSN and helped with development of action plan and project budgets that largely benefit landmine survivors in Ethiopia. He participated and advocated for the global initiative to ban landmines. Worked with the Ethiopian Government to promote survivors' assistance, disability sport activities and socio-economic re-integration of persons with disabilities. Shumye firmly advocated for the rights of landmine survivors and other persons with disabilities. He also helped develop nation-wide Rehabilitation Service Directory in Ethiopia. Mr. Shumye graduated from Potomac College in Washington, DC.