A PATH FOR A MINE-FREE SRI LANKA
off its latest initiative - CHAMPs, Children Against Landmines
Program, at the offices of Campbell, Crane & Associates. MLI
Chairman Anthony Lake, members of Congress, US State Department
officials and community members gathered to launch this innovative
project to involve the nation's schoolchildren in fighting the
global landmine problem. The pilot program for CHAMPS will begin
in Wyoming in September 23.
Mr. Perry Baltimore, Director Marshall Legacy Institute addressing
the distinguished guests at the event.
a two-week educational and fundraising program designed to engage
schoolchildren in the global effort to remove landmines. The program
promotes awareness of the landmine problem and generates funding
to provide highly trained dogs to severely affected countries.
children learn about the impact of landmines on threatened populations,
CHAMPS will encourage them to TAKE ACTION and help others by sponsoring
a lifesaving dog named "Wyoming."
will go to Sri Lanka along with an elite team of five other mine
detection dogs to help Sri Lankans free their country of mines,
restore land to productive use and allow the safe return of hundreds
of thousands of refugees to their homes.
with the U.S. Department of State, the Marshall Legacy Institute
(MLI) and the Government of Sri Lanka, all Wyoming students (K-12)
will have the opportunity to participate in the sponsorship program.
MLI Chairman Anthony Lake, MLI President Perry Baltimore, Diana
Enzi (wife of Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi) and Ambassador Devinda
Subasinghe of Sri Lanka will visit Cheyenne, Casper and Jackson
Hole, Wyoming, along with a mine detection dog team, to deliver
landmine presentations and demonstrations at area schools.
so thrilled that Wyoming is the first state to participate in
this national campaign where children will be helping children
around the world," said Mrs. Enzi at the kick-off hosted
by Jeanne Campbell of Campbell Crane & Associates. Brigadier
Rohan Jayasinghe, defense attaché to the Sri Lanka embassy,
explained how landmines continue to threaten the safety and stability
of many in Sri Lanka as it emerges from two decades of civil war.
In the past 20 years, an astonishing 700,000 to 1 million landmines
have been laid in the ground. Many mines have been placed in heavily
populated areas and fertile farmland. This has resulted in disastrous
effects upon agricultural land, villages, roads, water resources,
and livestock. In Chavakachcheri alone, one of the most ravaged
villages, it is estimated that it will cost $3.2 million to clear
trained dogs are one of the best detectors of landmines available
in the field today. Carefully selected dogs sniff the odor of
explosives and alert their handlers as to the precise location
of landmines for removal. Some 700 dogs are working in 23 countries
around the world, but many more of these wonderful animals are
needed. Through CHAMPS, MLI will help satisfy this need.
included Senator and Mrs. Mike Enzi (R-WY), Rep. Foley (R-FL),
Rep. McDermott (D-WA), Rep. McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Neal (D-MA),
and James Lawrence from the Office of Mine Action Initiatives
& Partnerships at the US Department of State.
For more information
on the Marshall Legacy Institute, visit the website at www.marshall-legacy.org
Embassy of Sri Lanka
10 September 2003