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February CHAMPS Calls Teach Students Valuable Lessons

CHAMPS Students in the U.S. Learn About the Landmine Issue!

On February 8th, MLI staff held a virtual call with students from the Animal Service Club at New Brunswick Middle School. MLI staff and Canine Ambassador, Rico shared a slideshow about the CHAMPS program and educated students on the landmine issue.

The students were very engaged and eager to learn about the issue, asking great questions:

Q: How much does it cost to sponsor a Mine Detection Dog?

A: $20,000 for students/schools

Q: What do you do with the dogs when they retire?

A: The handler gets “first dibs” to keep the dog; otherwise, good homes are always found for them.

Q: How long does it take to train a Mine Detection Dog?

A: 1-2 years


CHAMPS Held their First Virtual Homeschool Call!

Nine elementary-aged homeschool students from Rhode Island and Massachusetts participated in their first virtual CHAMPS call! Together, with MLI staff, the students first participated in an ice breaker to get to know each other before beginning their lesson on the distinction between empathy and sympathy.

For their next call, the students will get to meet their peers in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In preparation, they ended the call by learning and practicing Bosnian words and phrases, including:

Thank you: Hvala ti

Hello: Zdravo

How are you: Kako si


CHAMPS Students Tour Bosnian Prosthetic Center!

On February 8th, elementary students from the Glenelg Country School took a virtual tour of the Otto Boch Prosthetic Center in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH)!

The students, who have raised money to assist landmine survivors in BiH, learned about this world famous prosthetic center and how it is assisting survivors with their prosthetic needs.

Marija Trlin, the in-country CHAMPS Manager from the Mine Detection Center of BiH (MDDC), and Prosthetic Center Technician Damir Vatres gave a walking tour of the center.

Marija and Damir shared information about how prosthetics are made and showed a photo of an AI Bionic Arm. Damir explained that learning to use fingers on a prosthetic arm can be quite difficult and showed a video of a survivor as he practiced using it to tie his shoelaces!

Damir and Marija shared details about the design and making of prosthetics:

-The special process of designing orthotics for people with “flat feet”

-The month-long prosthetic testing process recipients utilize to make sure the fit is right and there are no problems with the prosthetic.

-The use of different patterns and colors of outer materials to make the prosthetic more colorful and individualized. Damir explained, “Life is hard, let’s make it colorful!”

The Glenelg students were very engaged and asked great questions:

*Do survivors wear a “normal” shoe over their prosthetic?

*Does the prosthetic let them walk as well as they used to?

*Do the prosthetics allow the survivors to run races and play sports?


Background: The CHAMPS Program Engages U.S. Students in Addressing the Landmine Issue

CHAMPS (CHildren Against Mines Program) is a program that teaches students about landmines and their effects on people and countries worldwide. Retired Mine Detection Dog Rico, serves as MLI's “canine ambassador." Teaching students about the important work of MDDs, Rico performs simulated minefield detections and shows students how the dogs "sniff out" mines and play a key role in restoring safety in mine-impacted countries.

As part of the CHAMPS program, students are encouraged to play a role in eliminating the landmine problem. Many schools initiate their own CHAMPS campaigns to raise money and sponsor a Mine Detection Dog. Once enough money is raised, the students get to name their dog and receive reports on the dog’s progress working in the field. The CHAMPS program teaches students about global issues and enables them to see how their donations and fundraising has a direct effect on addressing the landmine problem in war-torn countries.


The CHAMPS Bosnia-Herzegovina program is generously funded by

the United States Department of State. 🇺🇸


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