Born in 1998, Mohammad lives in a small village in Saref, Yemen where he lives with his father, mother, six brothers, and two sisters. On October 6, 2008 he was playing near a mosque when he found something interesting on the ground. He took it home to show his father and before he made it home the mine exploded. As Mohammad describes, “I didn’t feel anything and I didn’t realize what had happened with me, but all I could think about was to reach my house to show my father what I had found.” His father, Abdul Karim, met his son at the door and saw that he was covered in blood. In that moment Abdul became paralyzed. “My son told me, ‘Don’t worry Dad, I’m fine.’” Mohammad was taken to the closest hosptial and soon after was taken to the military hospital in Sanaa. Mohammad lost both arms below the elbow and his left eye.
A few days after the accident, Mohammad began asking himself questions such as “How can I play with my friends again? How will they treat me once I have no hands?” In the following months, his friends began becoming closer to Mohammed and his parents and siblings encouraged him to continue his life as before. Mohammad registered at the Yemen Association of Landmine Survivors (YALS) and the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC) as a landmine survivor. “I met with different ages of other survivors and came to understand that I am not the only mine victim.”
In 2010, Mohammad met with MLI President, Perry Baltimore in Yemen and was able to receive new prostheses in November 2011. In 2012, Mohammed began the seventh grade at the government school by his home and has since reached the top of his class. He enjoys school and playing soccer with his friends. “I still feel that the future will be better as long as there are people who love to help others. I thank all the people who helped me.”
In 2012, MLI selected Mohammad to receive the Survivors’ Assistance Award at the Clearing the Path Gala in Washington DC on October 10, 2012.
With the assistance of generous donors, Mohammad was able to not only fly to the U.S. to receive the award, but remained in America so that he could be fitted with functional prosthetic limbs at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. The bulky prosthetic arms/hands were very heavy for him at first, but he was determined to get stronger so that he would be able to use them effectively. Over the past six months, Mohammad has been working diligently and is doing extremely well with his new arms/hands, which enable him to do many things that he could not do before. He is now at the top of his 7th grade class and, just last week, sent the email below to MLI’s President to share his great progress.
“Dear Mr. Perry,
I am writing this email to you by myself using my prosthetics hands and Mr. Alawi is helping me in translation.
I just finished my exam today after hard homework and I am sure that I will get succeed.
Regarding my prosthetics hands, I am using them every day and when I feel tiredness, I started to remember all your efforts for me to get the prosthetics then I wear them and day by day I started feeling comfortable.
Thank you very much and thanks for all people assisted me to get prosthetics hands.
Please see the attached picture of me taking by Mr. Alawi during writing this letter.
My best regards to all MLI staff.
MLI is so grateful to supporters like you who have enabled us to help the many men, women, and children, like Mohammad, who have been injured by landmines. Thank you for your support!