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UNICEF: Protecting Children from Land Mines in Laos
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UNICEF: Protecting Children from Land Mines in Laos

What's the best way to educate children about the dangers of stray land mines and unexploded bombs? UNICEF and its partners in Laos are discovering that a giant magic cricket mascot helps. 

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Produced by UNICEF Television.

Learn more about UNICEF's efforts to mitigate the threat of unexploded ordinances in Laos.

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Segment 1

VOICEOVER
Sanchon and Andy have still not fully recovered from the day a bomb exploded at their feet. The brother and sister had been tending to their family's livestock when Sanchon picked up a round object in the grass. He thought it was a ball. His sister thought it was something else.
SANCHON
She said it's a bomb. I dropped it, and it exploded.
VOICEOVER
They suffered wounds in their stomachs and arms. Shrapnel remains embedded in their bodies. They are part of a growing number of children injured by remnants of war in Laos. Bombing and ground fighting in the 1960s and 70s have left unexploded ordnance littering 16 of the country's 18 provinces. There are more than 200 accidents per year, nearly half of them involving children. Most child survivors bear not only permanent physical scars, they also must endure emotional trauma that haunts them for years. Clearance teams are removing and detonating unexploded ordnance. But it's a slow process that's expected to take decades. With the help of a magic cricket, UNICEF and local partners are working to teach children about the dangers of explosives and reduce accidents. Here in southern Laos, the cricket holds special appeal to children. It is a ready source of food, and many children, like 13-year-old Ken, often dig for them in fields that could hide unexploded ordnance. Once a week, these cricket mascots lead children through a program of games and education. Through the story of the magic cricket, children learn how to identify mines or bomblets and what to do if they find them. Eleven-year-old Khanphachanh says these activities have made her more comfortable.
KHANPHACHANH
I have a lot of fun, and now I feel safer because I know how to avoid unexploded bombs.
VOICEOVER
With proper warning and encouragement, UNICEF is giving more children in Laos the tools to defuse their fears, and live in the fields with greater confidence. In Paksong, Laos, this is Steve Nettleton reporting for UNICEF. For every child, advance humanity.