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Landmines Threaten to Steal Young Boy’s Future

Seng Ha made his career choice and left school to help his father run a woodcutting business and support the family, his future was set. Until at 14 he stepped on a landmine…

Seng Ha made his career choice in grade three. Leaving school to help his father run a woodcutting business and support the family, his future was set. Until at 14 he stepped on a landmine, leaving him with only one foot and very little to look forward to.

On June 2, Seng Ha’s life changed forever. He and his father were working to collect firewood in a forest just outside their home village of Tanub Dach, when Seng stepped on an unexploded landmine concealed near a tree. Usually Seng and his father worked closely together, however, on this day they were working separately. Seng said he felt a vibration under his foot and tried to jump away, but the landmine exploded, severing one of his feet and wounding his body. His father was also injured by the flying debris. Landmines in this area of Cambodia are a stark reminder of the years of war and terror under the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot. Sadly children are often the innocent victims of these unexploded remnants of war.

Samaritan’s Purse staff were driving to the school at Tanub Dach when they saw a CAMA (Christian & Missionary Alliance) ambulance speeding away. Upon arriving at the village they were informed about the nature of the accident. Samaritan’s Purse partners with CAMA and has funded four ambulances in the province, which provide lifesaving transportation for emergencies. On this particular day the ambulance driver told Samaritan’s Purse staff he was able to save the boy’s life. Upon arriving at the village he helped a local volunteer stop the bleeding from the severely wounded leg and apply bandages. He then drove them as quickly as he could to the nearby regional surgical hospital.

When Seng realised the severity of his injury he pleaded, “Please don’t take me to the hospital – just leave me here to die.”

Savaan, a Samaritan’s Purse staff member, had also lost his foot as a young man and decided to visit the boy and his family at the hospital. On arriving he noticed Seng was very discouraged. “My life is worth nothing and I want to die because no one will marry me now.” Seng told him. Savaan sat down and showed Seng his own prosthetic foot. He took it off so that Seng could see how it worked and assured him that he could still grow up to be a man and have a family and a good job. Seng was greatly encouraged; he even said that he would like to go back to school. Savaan also encouraged the family by telling them about the love of God.

Samaritan’s Purse provided the family with money for food during their hospital stay and connected them with an organisation in a nearby town that could provide a prosthetic device free of charge. Savaan continues to visit the family monthly to encourage Seng while he undergoes rehabilitation and adjusts to a prosthetic device.