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Celebrating the Success of Another CHAMPS Colombia – USA Year!

Updated: May 16

With the end 2023-2024 Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) year on May 6, we're reflecting on a journey filled with enriching experiences, profound learning, and heartfelt connections.

This year, CHAMPS brought together a total of 55 young students, including 11 from Glenelg Country School in Maryland, USA, and 44 from three schools affiliated with "La Esperanza" in Urrao, Antioquia, Colombia.

Throughout the program, students delved into the global landmine issue, gaining insight into its human and economic repercussions, while fostering cultural exchanges and bridging countries and communities together.

Here's a glimpse of the highlights:

Students immersed themselves in the unique aspects of their respective communities, sharing pieces of daily life with their cultural peers. They learned about one another's local foods, iconic landmarks, and cherished traditions.

Through virtual exchange, they forged bonds that transcended borders.

Students honed essential life skills vital for global citizenship with thought-provoking discussions on leadership, empathy, and inclusion.

Special guest, K-9 Ambassador MDD Rico, stole the spotlight with a virtual landmine detection demonstration, awing students.

MDD Rico displayed his impressive explosive sniffing abilities, honed from six years of work "sniffing out" landmines in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Children also met Guillermo Murcia, a resilient Colombian landmine survivor. At the age of 21, Guillermo accidentally stepped on a landmine, resulting in severe injuries to his limbs and head, perforation of his lungs, and fractures in his ribs.

Despite unimaginable challenges and feelings of despair, Guillermo kept his outlook focused on peace and reconciliation. Today, his journey sparks hope and determination among our young participants.

CHAMPS students united behind the commemoration of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action and stood in solidarity with survivors and people with disabilities. Participating in the "Lend Your Leg" campaign, they designed creative posters to advocate for a world free from landmines.

As the CHAMPS year closes out, we know the lessons learned and the friendships forged will continue to contribute to a safer and more inclusive world for

generations to come.


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