4am: 12-year-old Desbell is already awake. He walks to the local borehole to collect water for his five brothers and sisters. After sweeping the yard and checking on the hens he makes porridge for the family before getting dressed for school.
6am: Desbell sets off to school. It’s a five kilometre walk. He should arrive at class by 8am.
But on the way Desbell and his siblings must walk through a minefield.
For a nearly a year, Desbell passed the red warning signs on his daily walk without understanding why they were there. Then one day there was an accident nearby. A cow was blown up by a landmine. Desbell realised the path he took to school each day was directly through a minefield.
Desbell, age 12, Zimbabwe
Desbell lives in a village on near the northern Zimbabwe – Mozambique border. Dense belts of landmines were laid here during the Liberation Wars of the 1970s. Nearly 40 years on from independence, over 1500 people have been killed or injured by the minefields. Desbell’s home lies on a stretch of land behind one such minefield. Every day, he has to cross through the landmines to reach school.
Alarmingly, Desbell says he is now used to crossing the minefield to school. But this shouldn’t be the reality for any child. Desbell loves learning English and dreams of being a teacher just like his class tutor, Mr Ndawi, when he grows up.
With your support we can clear a safe path to school for children like Desbell so they can realise their ambitions and dreams.