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But then one morning in August 2017, a group of women arrived and began setting up camp. They were HALO Angola’s 100 Women in Demining, part of a unique project to train and employ local women to remove Angola’s landmines. In a country where employment opportunities for women are scarce, the project seeks to empower women to take control of their future. 

“When the women first arrived, I didn’t know why they were here. Then we were told that they had come to remove the landmines. I was surprised, I didn’t believe that women would be doing this difficult job, climbing the mountains, I thought it would be men.”

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The women began their painstaking work, toiling across the steep mountainside in the intense heat to search for the landmines and Aurora started to believe that they could help her village.

“I saw them doing the work and I started to believe that they could do this and make our land safe. It will be good for this community once all the mines are gone because the cattle will be safe and I also think more people will come here to cultivate the land."

Aurora was immediately captivated by the HALO deminers—'those beautiful women' who would spend hours on their hands and knees, excavating the soil to find the deadly landmines.

“I feel so happy seeing these beautiful women here clearing the landmines. I love them being here so much and want them to stay here forever!”

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Now the land is being made safe, it is possible to look forwards. The new white building on the hill is a school, built thanks to the generous support of the Italian energy company Eni. Here Aurora can have the opportunity to reach her full potential.

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“I like to study, it is for my future. When we have tests I always get good grades. I would like to be a teacher when I am older. Having a new school here will motivate us, fewer children were starting to come to class but now we have our own school they are saying they want to come and learn.”

 

And when Aurora speaks of the future, it is a country-free from mines that is in her thoughts.

“They must not stop until all the mines in Angola are destroyed. I am so happy that they came here, if they hadn’t come then we might not have our new school. All the children are happy, and I am especially happy and grateful.”

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