MLI believes in targeted, effective programs that remove landmines and restore hope, alleviate suffering, and nurture stability in war-torn countries. MLI programs are a collaborative effort between the people of the United States and the country involved.
One of the most effective tools for finding landmines are highly trained Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) that are able to “sniff out” the landmines, which are often small, plastic, and buried in the ground. Over the past 18 years, MLI has provided more than 200 highly trained mine detection dogs to mine-affected countries around the world. None of the dogs have ever been injured or killed while working. After a working life of 6-8 years, MLI ensures that each dog is retired into a home befitting of its life-saving service. Currently, MLI has 106 MDD teams actively working in Angola, Azerbaijan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Iraq, Lebanon and Sri Lanka. MLI emphasizes the importance of helping countries help themselves and is the only organization in the world that builds indigenous demining capacity by donating highly trained Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) to mine contaminated countries, and then training local handlers to safely and effectively employ the MDDs in national landmine clearance programs.
In addition to directly helping mine-affected countries, MLI also focuses on raising awareness within the United States about the devastating effects of landmines. MLI’s Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) was formed to raise awareness about landmines amongst youth in America, while also encouraging their leadership skills and the knowledge that they can make a real difference in the world and effect positive change. Over the past several years, American youth have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of MLI’s MDDPP and Survivors’ Assistance programs, sending 33 highly trained MDDs to “sniff out” landmines in mine-affected countries, and providing medical assistance and prostheses to dozens of children who have been critically injured by landmines.
While continuing to work to diminish the number of landmines throughout the world, MLI recognizes that there are hundreds of thousands of people who have already been injured by landmines, and approximately 5,000 additional men, women, and children become survivors each year. Therefore, the Survivors’ Assistance program began as a way to implement a variety of programs that assist those who have been injured by landmines. Landmine survivors face seemingly insurmountable challenges in addition to the obvious physical disabilities, such as psychological stress and economic hardships. MLI’s Survivors’ Assistance program helps combat these challenges by providing prosthetic devices, rehabilitative treatments, and vocational training to landmine survivors. MLI is also currently funding a program that provides specialized rehabilitative medical training to doctors in Iraq, as well as a program that is building a computer lab and providing vocational training to landmine survivors in Yemen so they may learn employable skills and have the ability to provide financially for their families.