Glenelg Country School in Ellicott City, MD has sponsored five life-saving Mine Detection Dogs and just completed yet another campaign that raised enough money to sponsor medical treatment and prostheses for six landmine survivors in Yemen! Each year for the past six years, this incredible school has held a K9-9K Walkathon to support the Marshall Legacy Institute and to raise money to sponsor an MDD and to help survivors.
2016 Campaign to Help Landmine Survivors
In 2016, during the 6th annual K9-9K, Glenelg Country School raised thousands and thousands of dollars to help six children in Yemen who lost their limbs in landmine explosions. These children’s lives are being transformed because of the dedication and hard work of the students and faculty at Glenelg Country School! Throughout the year, the CHAMPS Jr. club also sold bracelets, held bakesales, made blankets that they sent to children and mine survivors in need in Yemen, and held loads of other activities to raise funds to help mine survivors. These amazing students, staff, and parents are truly making a difference in the lives mine survivors around the world!
Yemeni Survivors Helped in 2016
Hamzah was playing near his village with friends when he stepped on a landmine and suddenly there was an explosion. The people from the village came running and took him to the hospital. He stayed isolated from people for three months, then he met some other survivors at the Yemeni Association of Landmine Survivors – and he realized he was not the only person who had lost his leg to a landmine. He met other boys that had lost legs, hands, and eyes — he felt that he had found new friends!
Glenelg Country School, in Maryland, raised funds to sponsor Hamzah and provide him with a new prosthetic leg. Now he is able to continue his studies and feels like he has a more normal life!
Hamzah is very thankful to MLI/CHAMPS and YALS for their help — he is very happy to have a new prosthetic leg!
At 9 years of age, Gameel was injured by a landmine explosion. He is a very smart boy and spoke with much self-confidence as he shared his story:
“My village is contaminated with mines and there are many people who have been injured and killed. I was studying at school as usual. My school is located on a mountain between three villages so that it is accessible to all three areas. When we finished our second class, we went outside of the school to play. Me and my friends decided to follow some birds. In Yemen there is one kind of bird, called a Joulabah, which can’t fly very high or for very long. There were about ten of us students that were following after this bird…when suddenly, I heard an explosion and found myself on the ground! I was looking at my friends to see who got injured, that is all I remember. After that, I saw teach-ers and students around me and my leg was bleeding…then I understood that the accident had happened to me. They took me to the village where I was only awake for a short time. I saw my father, mother, and brother crying beside me.”
Gameel smiled, and then continued, “I was waiting for death. I spent one month in the hospital and when I left, my father was carrying me. I was feeling that I would not walk again. Soon we heard about a program that has funds from the USA to help young survivors. They contacted me and after one week, my father and I moved to Sana’a to stay there while I was fitted and prepared to receive a new leg! Thanks to the CHAMPS program and American students at Glenelg Country School, Gameel received his new prosthetic leg…and said: “Now I am fine!”
Summer holidays were over, Amal was on her way to school to register for the new school year. She was thinking in that moment about her friends and the teachers she might have for her classes. While on her way to school, and thinking about the future, there was an explosion — suddenly, all her dreams of the future were gone — as the explosion took them along with her left leg!
Amal injury occurred in 2002, but she did not receive her first prosthetic leg until 2012 through the CHAMPS program — she was able to return to school and her studies! Then, in 2015, Amal was identified as having outgrown her prosthetic leg and in need of a larger one to fit her growing body.
American students at Glenelg Country School, already involved in the CHAMPS program, raised money for Amal to receive her needed prosthetic leg!
Faiz Ahmed Ali Zaid, now 16 years of age, was injured by a landmine explosion in 2014. Faiz shared, “I was studying in the 7th grade in 2014. I would usually graze our goats on the weekend to help my sister who grazes them during the weekdays. On Friday morning, I went to the mountain to graze and I found my friends on the way. They called to me to come play soccer with them. I told them I would take the goats to the valley and then come back to play some soccer with them. Then, I talked to another girl out grazing her sheep and asked her to take care of my goats for a little while. I had been playing soccer for one hour with my friends when the girl called to me and said that my goats ran away from her. So, I had to leave and go gather them. I was afraid that my father would be upset that I left our goats with the girl, so I took a short way to get my goats home more quickly. But, unfortunately, the short way was a mined area! My parents were always warning me to not go near that area, but I was thinking only about my goats and getting home. Then, the explosion happened (as they told me later on) — a mine accident happened with me! I was in a coma and didn’t feel any pain at that time. After two days, I woke up and saw my mother crying beside me. She tried to explain to me, but really I was feeling more sad for my mother than myself and told her that I don’t care about my leg…that I can use a stick to walk.”
A year later, Faiz was identified as a good candidate to receive a prosthetic leg through the CHAMPS program. Thanks to American students at Glenelg Country School, Faiz received a new prosthetic leg in 2016! He is very happy and looks forward to continuing his studies… And has hope for the future!
Abdul Rahman was injured in 2015 at the age of 6. He is a quiet boy and a bit shy, so it took some time for him to become comfortable with telling the story of his injury. Abdul Rahman’s story is very brief:
“I was playing with my friends and I heard an explosion. I did not know what had happened. I was crying and bleeding. They took me to the hospital, but I lost my left leg in the explosion. I need to get a prosthetic so I can walk again and go to school.” In 2016 and now 7 years old, Abdul Rahman was selected through the CHAMPS program to receive a prosthetic leg. Through their annual K9-9K and other fundraisers, the students at Glenelg Country School raised funds to help several young Yemeni survivors, to include Abdul Rahman.
Abdul Rahman now has a new prosthetic leg and has become very good at walking on it! He has a bright smile and a new hope for the future!
At 8 years of age, Abdul Razaq Basheer Al Baadany lost his right leg to a landmine.
“I was on vacation and playing with my friends close to the Black Moun-tain. We decided to build a small room for our sheep and started col-lecting stones. I tried to get one stone out of the ground, then, suddenly, the explosion happened! I remember that I fell down, but that’s all. Three days later, I woke up in the hospital and saw that my leg was gone. I felt very sad and was thinking that I will not be able to walk again.
I was soon introduced to some other young survivors that had also lost their leg from landmines — I saw that some of them have a disability more difficult than me, but they were still happy and studying and walking normally with prosthetics. Then I got a hope that I can continue my life normally and study like them.”
In 2016, Abdul was identified as a candidate for a prosthetic leg through the CHAMPS program. He is now 11 years old and thanks to students at Glenelg Country School, MD, he has received a new prosthetic leg! He is very happy and looks forward to rejoining his friends at school next fall.
Shafeqah was injured by a landmine in 2009 at the age of 8. As she shared her story, Shafeqah said, “My story is not much different than other survivors…the mines usually steal our childhood smiles. I was happy and playing when the explosion happened. I was going with my sister and some other girls to the mountain where our animals could graze when I saw a big hole with water in it. I stayed behind to play in the water and clay, as I like to make animal shapes from clay. The other girls were collecting wood while the animals were grazing when they heard a big explosion. They heard it, but did not know where it came from since it was in the big hole. I couldn’t remember what happened exactly with me, but my friends told me later that they spent a long time getting me from the mountain to the hospital. I lost my right leg because of the landmine explosion.”
In 2011, she received a prosthetic leg, but was not happy with it because her leg was amputated above the knee and it became too small for her as she grew. Now 15 years of age, Shafeqah was identified through the CHAMPS program as being a good candidate for another prosthetic leg…one that will fit.
Working to make a difference in the world, students at Glenelg Country School in Ellicott City, MD raised funds for landmine survivors in Yemen and were able to help Shafeqah receive her new prosthetic leg in the spring of 2016.
Shafeqah hopes to return to school next fall. Her dream is to work in a humanitarian job to help other.
MDD Woody Campaign
In 2015, during the 5th annual K9-9K, Glenelg Country School raised funds to sponsor their fifth Mine Detection Dog, Woody. MDD Woody is currently undergoing training and will be deployed to northern Iraq, to sniff out landmines with MAG in Kurdistan.
MDD Jason Campaign
In 2014, during the 4th annual K9-9K, Glenelg Country School raised funds to sponsor their fourth Mine Detection Dog! They named the dog MDD Jason, in honor of Captain Jason Jones, who was the nephew of an administrator at Glenleg Country School and who was tragically killed by an explosive in Afghanistan shortly after the K9-9K. MDD Jason is now working in Bosnia and Herzegovina, “sniffing out” landmines and saving lives.
MDD Barrett Campaign
In 2013, the 3rd annual K9-9K Walkathon raised funds to sponsor MDD Barrett, named in honor of PFC Barrett Austin. Following the K9-9K, students and staff learned of an attack in Afghanistan that led to the tragic death of PFC Barrett Austin and which also severely injured Barrett’s Squad Leader, SSG Brendan Fossum, whose brother attends Glenelg Country School. Combining funds raised by Robbie Goodman, who generously donated gifts from his Bar Mitzvah, with those raised at the K9-9K, a life-saving Mine Detection Dog (MDD), MDD Barrett, was named in honor of PFC Barrett Austin, to memorialize his ultimate sacrifice. MDD Barrett is now “sniffing out” landmines in Iraq.
MDD Country Campaign
In 2011, the first K9-9K Walkathon at Glenelg Country School raised funds to sponsor MDD Country, who worked for four years in Afghanistan and recently was transferred to Azerbaijan where he will work for another 2-3 years before retiring with his handler.
MDD Dragon Campaign
Students at the Glenelg Country School and the Patrick Family.
Shelby Patrick, a sixth-grader at the school, initiated a successful campaign to fund a mine-detecting dog named Dragon in 2008.
The school managed to raise $6,000 and the Patrick family funded the difference. The dog was named Dragon for Glenelg’s mascot and sent to work in Afghanistan.
“Glenelg Country School has embraced this program and the students have taken it further to ask what happens to kids who have already been hurt by landmines,” McCasland said.
Dragon’s assignment was the start of a series of coincidental connections at the school, she said, adding that the students, faculty and families have also raised funds to purchase prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs and other assistance for landmine victims.