Project TG (2008-2013)

Coalition Against Landmines (CALM) 

Helping child survivors of war get rehabilitation & attend school

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In 2008, to help narrow the victims' assistance gap in the Tigray region, CALM teamed up with the Mekelle Ortho-Physiotherapy Centre (MOPC) in Mekelle (regional capital of Tigray). CALM and MOPC jointly launched Project TG to help two child landmine survivors (Teklet and Genet) with rehabilitation, education and socio-economic needs. CALM paid for orthopedic - assistive devices and provided financial assistance for Teklet and Genet to help them with education and expenses related with education.

In 2009, with the sponsorship of CALM, Mr. Girmay (CALM representative in Tigray) traveled to Gemhalo and Wekro to visit Genet and Teklet in their villages (close to the Eritrean-Ethiopia border). According to Girmay, the trip was very challenging: "Just breathing the hot air in and out was very suffocating. Public transportation was rarely available; sometimes I had to use military trucks. Teklet's area was under security zone - lots of questions and check points. In addition, getting to Teklit's home required walking so many kilometers on foot. But by God’s grace, I was able to safely visit the children at their homes." Mr. Girmay highlighted challenges Teklet and Genet were facing in terms of going to school and in their day-to-day life. 

Beneficiary situation analysis


At the time, Teklet was living with his father and mother in Kebele Biyara, Wereda Thahtay Adi-Abo, in North- Western Tigray region. He had three sisters and three brothers. His family earned living by farming. In June 2006, while herding cattle for the family, Teklet accidentally stepped on anti- personnel landmine and sustained the following injuries:

In 2008, with financial help from CALM, Teklet re-started school, which he had quitted more than two years ago. For the first time Teklet walked to school using the new prosthesis paid for by CALM and made by MOPC. He went to Biyara Elementary School located within a few miles from his home. Teklet enthusiastically socialized with his peers and friends in the village. 

Teklet’s Father said: “After the landmine accident to my son, I had lost hope and cry every time I see him confined at home alone. But thanks to CALM that now my son can move from place to place and walk to school using the artificial limb. He has many friends now, I’m truly happy for him and the family. I have no doubt that he will pursue his education and would prove self-supporting in the long run.”

One of Teklet’s neighbors said: “When Teklet was confined at home due to his disabilities, he was hopelessly depressed, and thought he would do nothing for the rest of his life. However, now he is able to walk out and come back on his own just like all his peers. He attends his classes diligently. From now on, I’m encouraged to support him in my capacity to help him achieve his goals. Another thing that I want to emphasize is that, the change that Teklet made has also changed me. I used to doubt that Teklet could ever be able to move and attend school. Now, I have witnessed all his improvements with my own eyes. Finally, I have come to learn that given the opportunity, the disabled and war victims can also be productive citizens like anybody else.”  

One of Teklet’s Teachers said: “After securing CALM’s physical rehabilitation services, he has come to use upper and lower limb prosthesis, and as the result, he was able to pursue his education, which he had quitted more than two years ago. A child that was confined to his house is now able to attend school and to have social relationship with other students. I am very happy for him, and this motivates me to do more to change the lives of other children with disabilities (CWD).” 


The other beneficiary of Project TG was Genet who lived with her mother in Kebele Merena, central zone of Tigray region. In 2005, while walking to school with her two friends they came across unfamiliar object, which sadly happened to be anti- personnel landmine. Unfortunately, due to lack of awareness, they tampered with it and upon explosion, one of her friends died immediately and Genet ended up losing her left hand above the elbow. Genet went to Wekro Maray Secondary School, about nine miles from her home village. With the financial help from CALM, she rented a room close by the school and shared it with two other friends who were also from the same village. She wished to study law in hope of fighting for the cause of the disabled and mine victims. She was thankful to her single mom for all the help and care she was receiving. Genet said: “CALM has played an essential role in changing my life. I have new arm prosthesis and proudly attend school. The organization has provided me with financial assistance to cover my education, room rental, transport and other related expenses. I can say, I am among the luckiest girls, I wish other girls affected by landmines get similar assistance from CALM as well.”

Wekro Maray Secondary School Director, Mr. Mehari said: “Physically disabled children are kept confined at home deprived of education and other opportunities. Due to cultural and other influences, most parents keep their disabled children at home instead of sending them to school, or integrating them with the community. This exposes the children to psychological distress, physical and mentally retardation. On the other hand, many schools do not give proper attention to disabled children. While building stairs, toilets and seats, disabled children’s needs are not taken into consideration. But when we come to Genet, she is a clever student. With assistance from CALM, she has maintained her confidence to interact with people and her peers. She participates in various school activities such as in youth clubs and takes advantage of the very limited social services available for disabled children within the school system.”  

Mr. Girmay attested, "In collaboration with MOPC, CALM changed for good the lives of the two children as well as the community through Project TG." 

Project TG was concluded in 2013.