Updated: Feb 22
Students from North Mianus School in Connecticut gathered for a virtual call with Bosnian landmine survivor, Sead Kantarević.
Mr. Kantarević shared his story, the impact his injury has had on him, and how he has overcome the many challenges from his injury. In 1995, Sead and his friend were walking through a field in Velika Kladuša. He stepped on an antipersonnel mine which caused a huge blast. He and his friend both fell to the ground. Sead’s left leg was amputated above the knee. After spending a month in the hospital, he was released from the hospital. His family took care of him and helped him to recover. Sead and his wife have two children.
Sead is currently a hairdresser and spends most of the day standing on his prosthesis. With an above the knee prostheses, the knee part is one of the most crucial components according to Sead. Sead is an active young man and was in need of a replacement for the knee part of the prosthesis. He is entitled to a small amount of money from the Ministry of Health in Bosnia, as he was a civil war victim. He urgently needed help in purchasing a good knee that would enable him to walk more easily and stand for the entire day while working. Through MLI's CHAMPS program, Sead was able to receive the replacement. The new knee part changed Sead's life completely, and his is able to provide for his family.
Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) is a program designed to empower school-aged children to make a positive impact in war-torn countries suffering from the devastating effects of landmines. In September of 2003, MLI and Diana Enzi, wife of Senator Mike Enzi (Wyoming), introduced CHAMPS to the schoolchildren of Wyoming. Since then, children across the United States have sponsored 47 life-saving mine detection dogs and assistance to more than 800 landmine survivors. In 2020, Sead received a replacement for his prostheses thanks to the support of the CHAMPS program.
Each month, Tamara Klingsheim, MLI CHAMPS Manager, schedules and facilitates virtual calls between students in the United States and Bosnia. The U.S. students also have the opportunity to hear from survivors who have directly benefited from their campaigns and efforts to make a positive impact. Through the virtual calls between the students, they share commonalities and differences, learn about each other’s culture, and work together to raise awareness about the dangers of landmines.
Students in Connecticut have been long-time members of the CHAMPS program. They have sponsored 18 mine detection dogs who work in war-torn countries around the world – sniffing out landmines, clearing land that is then returned to the people for use. The students engage virtually with students from Bosnian schools each month. While the Bosnian students were on winter break, the students from North Mianus were able to participate in a virtual call with Sead. He spoke to the group for a bit, took the students on a tour of his farm, and then answered questions the students had for him. Sead was so gracious and shared his gratitude with the students.
CHAMPS Bosnia is generously funded by the US Department of State.