So yesterday was International Mine Action Day and today is either TOMS Shoes’ Day without Shoes or Saundra’s Day Without Dignity depending on who you are. Now I had no idea what this whole Day without Shoes was until it started showing up on my twitter feed and my facebook newsfeed, but I’ve gotta say what I’ve heard so far doesn’t leave me impressed. Lots of people can tell you why TOMS model isn’t good aid and well wandering around without shoes for a day isn’t actually going to do much so let’s find something else to do today. I know the people that are drawn to the Day Without Shoes want to do something about the poverty in the world. So my suggestion is to combine yesterday’s Mine Action day with today’s Day without Dignity and help people walk without fear regardless of whether or not they have shoes.
Landmines affect over 75 countries and claimed close to 6,000 new victims in 2009. They can’t tell the difference between a soldier and a child fetching water. Victims are either killed or maimed – losing limbs, vision, or suffering other injuries. It only takes the rumour of a mine to stop people from using land. There are entire communities who fear every step they take.
The landmine problem is something that we can fix – seriously every event I’ve attended to do with the campaign has told me that it is possible to get rid of landmines so that there are no future victims and to support the survivors to have full and productive lives in my lifetime. There is a landmine ban to stop people putting the mines in the ground, there are demining operations all over the world to take them out of the ground and survivor assistance programs to help victims.
Want to help?
- Mines Action Canada has a bunch of suggestions check them out. They give you options based on how much time you have (there’s a 5 minute option so no excuse).
- Sign the People’s Treaty against cluster munitions - campaigners use this to show governments that their population wants them to ban cluster munitions and landmines.
- Learn more from the ICBL or the ICRC.
- Help take landmines out of the ground by donating to HALO, MAG, DDG, NPA or any of the demining organizations there’s a bunch.
- Support survivors by donating to Handicap International (pick your country at the bottom), Canadian Red Cross’ Landmine Survivor Fund or any of the other organizations that support landmine survivors. Many countries have locally created and run landmine survivor associations that always need help (here’s the Afghan one as an example).
- Encourage the USA to sign the Mine Ban Treaty. The US hasn’t used landmines since the early 1990s, and they donate tons of money to mine action but they haven’t signed the Mine Ban Treaty. The White House is reviewing their landmine policy at the moment so if you want the US to ban landmines let them know.
Shoes really don’t matter if every step could be your last. So wear your shoes and do something to make sure everyone can walk without fear!