Neighbours get together to clean park, clear minefield Community
Aug. 6, 2003
Thinking globally and acting locally is the philosophy of a group of volunteers from the Canadian Landmine Foundation, an organization whose mission is to eradicate human and economic suffering caused by landmines.
They have organized an event christened 'Clear a Park to Clear a Minefield,' that will see volunteers cleaning up Rennie Park, not far from the Swansea Community Recreation Centre on Aug. 9 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. This is the first event of its kind for the landmine foundation, according to spokesperson Elisabeth King.
"We have a group of volunteers who have decided to create a volunteer fundraising committee. They wanted to do something that would become meaningful not only in our neighbourhood, but in others as well," she said. "They were looking for an area with a supportive community."
Rennie Park is a popular destination place frequented by many residents of the area. It just needs a little tidying up, King indicated. Approximately 10 volunteers associated with the Canadian Landmine Foundation will be taking part along with two friends they each recruited. They are appealing to the local community for help as well. Each person who would like to participate will be given a pledge sheet - the foundation will issue tax receipts for any donation over $10. Pledges can also be made online.
Volunteer Leah Loewith admits that because this is the group's first event, they don't have any monetary expectations. It is more to raise awareness, but at the same time, any funds that are raised will be greatly appreciated and will go to a good cause.
"This is a great thing for a company or school group to participate in," she said.
Landmines are one of the most pervasive problems in the world today. It is estimated that there are between 45 and 50 million in the ground in at least 70 countries including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Cambodia, Mozambique and Vietnam, according to King. Landmines injure or kill 10,000 civilians every year. Those who survive endure a lifetime of physical, psychological and economic suffering. Landmines can be laid anywhere including roads, paths, fields, buildings, waterways, bridges, forests and deserts. They cost as little as $3 to produce and are fairly easy to deploy compared to the $300 to $1,000 to locate and destroy a single mine. Usually it's a complex and time-consuming job. An international treaty to ban landmines - known as the Mine Ban Treaty, went into effect March 1, 1999, faster than any other international treaty in history. Canada has for a long time been at the forefront and has encouraged other nations to join such an important humanitarian cause. The Canadian Landmine Foundation, a registered charity with the mission to raise awareness and funds, was officially launched in June of 1999.
"Now that we've completed the first step by banning them, we're onto the next step, getting rid of existing ones," King said.
For more information, to participate or to sponsor a participant in the 'Clean a Park to Clear a Minefield' event, call the foundation at 416-365-9461 ext. 24. For further details, log onto www.canadianlandmine.org