Posted by: Ewan McGregor | Date posted: 29/06/2007
Ewan makes some new friends ©
Ewan and Charley took time out to visit a UNICEF project in Zalambasa, which deals with land mine awareness. You can watch the video clips above or read below. UNICEF Communications Officer, Indrias Getachew, was their guide.
'The issue we going to today, it's about what?' asks Charley.
'It's about mines', explains Indrias. 'We're looking at UNICEF's Mine Risk education programme, and this is extremely important in communities like this that live along this 1000km border with Ethiopia and Eritrea. It's one of the most landmine affected countries in the world, with approximately one million mines planted during the war'.
Ewan asks, 'How much of the mine fields have been diffused?'
'Perhaps 80% of the mines have been cleared from these mine fields', explains Indrias, 'but that means that they are a potential for accidents'.
'One of the boys that we'll be meeting at this first stop will be this young guy, Tasu, who's now 20 years old. It was about six years ago when he and his family moved back to their home. They got back home, and as he stepped out of his front door he stepped on a landmine, and lost one of his legs'.
Surveying the scene, Charley asks, 'so it was literally on his front doorstep?'
'We're here in Zalambasa, near the Eritrea and Ethiopian border' Charley tells us. 'We're here with Lowam and Tesku, and we're here to talk about landmines. There's been about a million landmines laid all on this border, and these two have fallen foul to landmines and have both lost limbs. And it's a massive clean-up project, and its incredibly difficult, isn't it Ewan?'
'It is', agrees Ewan. 'UNICEF are doing amazing things here. They're helping these groups of kids to be mine aware, and using drama and workshops to teach children in all of the schools in the area to be aware of mines and what to do if they find one, and if somebody's hurt, not to rush in - all of the essential things that kids need to know'.
Ewan continues, 'They're also helping kids like Lowan and Tesku who have lost limbs in their lives after the accidents. And they're just bringing in these mobility cycles, which are extraordinary-looking things'.
'We saw a girl on the first one in this area this morning, and they really are the future for these kids, who often can't get to school after the accident. They can't walk three or four kilometers to get to school, so these mobility cycles are a real lifeline for them to have a future'.
In the next clip, we can see just how taken the children are with Ewan's tattoos, which makes it tricky for him to talk to the camera...
'We're here in Zalambasa', he explains, 'and we've been looking at landmine issues today with UNICEF. It's been just extraordinary to meet kids who've lost legs and had horrible accidents with landmines, and it's been incredible. The kids are just great. I don't know what to say, they're just great aren't they?'