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Margaret Arach, A land mine survivor Changing Lives

“My desire is to see continuous assistance given to my people. The war is over but the effect lives on. Many have been maimed and they can’t afford the basics in life. This people need continues medical assistance, they need mobility devices which many can’t afford, and they need psychosocial support. They also need to be economically empowered. We need to think of our people at the grass root level who are suffering. I’m lucky I’m empowered through education to know my rights. It is therefore everyone’s duty to ensure that we the people with special abilities are taken care of. A lot of good plans are on paper but the implementation is lacking. What is the way forward?
Margaret Arach Orech is Director of Uganda Landmine Survivors Association. She has a strong passion and is resilient in working to make a difference in the lives of landmine victims. Her own experience as a landmine survivor gives her the courage and determination and strength. Margaret is working tirelessly to change the lives of women who have been abandoned by their husbands and denied property rights. Her weapon is her voice.
“My experience is that people with Special abilities (as they prefer to be called, not persons with disability) suffer the worst discrimination in society. The landmine survivors are suffering from man-made disaster. The women are the hard hit because most of them have been rejected by their spouses leaving them to fend for themselves and the children because they are now considered useless. Most of their husbands have since abandoned these women and married new wives.”.
Last year, during the United Nations Mine Awareness day celebrated at Gulu University, a region with a huge number of landmine survivors due to the LRA 26 year war, attracted many people. The celebration was organized within the “Lend your Leg” international campaign by ULSA with a call on: Accelerating clearance; Have better rehabilitation services; and Survivors’ economic empowerment.
On the road to achieving her vision, Margaret is now engaging Members of the Ugandan Parliament, the military, the appropriate government ministries and international stakeholders including representatives from ICRC. The strong commitment which came out from top Government representative (in the meeting) to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions prior to the States Meetings in Zambia in September 2013; tells you how Margaret is taking strides in her work.
I am proud to say that, Margaret has laid bare the plight of the landmine victims particularly the women and children. She has taken her voice to the highest mountain in Uganda. She is watching with a heavy heart whether her cry will bear fruit.
Margaret, I admire your courage and strength. I admire your resilience. May the Almighty God continue to give you courage in your struggle. One day I know doors will be opened to you so that your efforts will not be in vain. Through your leadership those whose lives you touched are smiling again.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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ikirimat's picture

Beatrice, You have written

Beatrice,

You have written this piece with such passion and articulation. You have brought to light issues that very few people usually talk about. After the war very little is done. Everyone seems to say.'Its over' Yet this is just the beginning. So, I think Margaret is a focused person who wants everyone happy and contributing to the development of her country.

Thank you for sharing her story, indeed you are the voice of the voiceless.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


akaneko's picture

Thank you for sharing this

Thank you for sharing this story about Margaret. Margaret is a true role model not just for landmine victims, but for women and human rights workers all over the world. And thank you for using your voice to dedicate this journal entry to Margaret. The two of you share a common commitment to speaking out against injustices and empowering women and girls everywhere.

Alison

rozjean's picture

People with Special Abilities

Hi Beatrice,
Thank you for bringing to light the plight of people, especially women and children, who have been affected by land mines. As one who spent many years working with people who have challenges, I am happy to hear the term "special abilities" used to refer to them. From what you have written, it sounds like Margaret's efforts in helping victims of land mines have not yet been successful, but I hope she sticks with it. Persistence and patience are tantamount in effecting change.
Warm wishes,
rozjean

keronga's picture

Hi Rozjean, thanks for your

Hi Rozjean, thanks for your cooment. I just want to let you know that Margaret is a landmine survivor herself and surely she has transformed the lives of many other survivors and victims. The only problem is she has not found a serious donor with a long term project. She uses small grants here and there which sometimes is so hard to get too. She is even an Ambassador for the landmine survivors and a member of the International Campaigns to Ban Landmines. Web: www.uganda-survivors.org and check for her profile on www.icbl.org. She is from Uganda. If there is any way you can help her organization, you are welcome.
Kind regards
Beatrice

edelgros's picture

Beatrice, Margaret is a brave

Beatrice,

Margaret is a brave person for doing what she does. I hope that by sharing her story, you can help her organization get the exposure it deserves and the financial help it needs.

Keep sharing more stories like hers!

Liz

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