My name is Assadullah, son of Abdul Ghani, and I am the head of Bar Malang village.
I was born in Bar Malang village, but I am currently living in the nearby Baghagai village. As my family expanded in size, I decided to relocate because the neighboring village was safer and more developed.
My household consists of 37 people. My wife and I live with our children, my seven brothers and their wives and children. I have spent the majority of my life living in Bar Malang and Baghagai villages; only during the war, I sought refuge with my family in Pakistan for a few years.
The landmines in our community made it very difficult for my family to rebuild their lives after the war. When we returned from Pakistan, through a series of accidents, we became aware that the Russian forces and Muhjadeen had mined our public roads, gardens and even our cemeteries.
There was nowhere we could safely graze our livestock and farm our land. We also feared for our children because it was impossible for us to know the exact location of the mines. They are the enemy of humanity, buried under the ground, indiscriminately targeting their victims.
The village has benefitted hugely thanks to HALO. Out of desperation, villagers had continued to use contaminated land. Through mine risk education received from HALO, came to better understand the dangers of entering hazardous areas and people started to stop taking unnecessary risks.
The land cleared by HALO is currently used by the entire village population. Our children travel through safe land to go to school. They are able to take livestock to the mountains for grazing, collect firewood and play without risking injury. Former minefields are being used as a quarry by villagers who can sell the stone for infrastructure construction, providing us with new incomes.
Since clearance and the handover of land, shops, fish farms, health clinics, and telephone poles have been constructed. Also the Kasiro Al-Rashtavi Institute was built in Bar Malang village, a facility used to provide our youth with higher education. Finally, nomadic Kuchi families can use the land for their tents and livestock.
When people heard their homeland had been cleared, families returned from refugee camps and cities and restored their houses. Other humanitarian organizations also came to our village to offer assistance and implement development projects. For instance, some of the most vulnerable families and landmine survivors participated in tailoring training provided by HALO’s livelihood partner, Accessibility Organization for Afghan Disabled (AOAD,) and were given sewing machines. Others were given agricultural assistance and received poultry and cattle.
Our community as a whole befitted from the installation of solar power panels that generate electricity for our village. Also a water reservoir has been constructed, providing the village with access to drinking water as well as water for agriculture and livestock.
HALO operations are currently still ongoing in the villages of our district. We look forward to the day when The HALO Trust declares all the land in our village landmine free.