Go to main content

A better future for Joc, wounded by a submunition in Laos when 15


Armed violence reduction | Laos | PUBLISHED ON May 23rd 2022
Portrait of Joc

Portrait of Joc | © Singkham / HI

Joc was hit by a cluster munition while he was fishing. He was 5. His life changed.

HI is supporting Joc, 19, from the village of Soplao in the north east of Laos, who lost part of his hearing and his left arm following the explosion of a sub-munition.

Joc's accident

Joc was a resourceful 5-year-old boy. He used to fish. One day, he looks for earthworms to make bait. An old cluster munition buried in the ground exploded and tore his hand. He spent 30 days in the hospital in Xiengkhuang, in the province next to where Joc lives, and lost part of his left arm and his hearing.

Joc's difficult daily life

Since his accident, Joc has a lot of difficulties to realize different tasks of the daily life such as wearing clothes, cooking, riding a bike… To continue school was difficult for him because of his hearing disability: he was not able to listen to the teacher; socialize with friends became difficult, etc.  He felt marginalized and was even the target of his classmates' mockery...

Be a local “ambassador” of inclusion thanks to HI

In 2019, Joc attended a training course organised by HI for the inclusion of people with disabilities.
Thuas, Joc became an ambassador an HI inclusion: he supports, advises and integrates other people with disabilities in his village.

“Survivors or people with disabilities tend to be marginalized. Having a survivor like Joc as an HI local ambassador on inclusion helps us to raise awareness of communities on the fact that survivors and people with disabilities have the right to participate meaningfully in all decision-making processes that affect them.” - Julien Kempeneers, Regional AVR/HMA Specialist

This year, Joc attended a cows raising training organized by HI. Raising animals will be a great opportunity, which will make him more autonomous and independent.

"I want to have a good future, to be included in the society, to live happily and independently".

Mine clearance in Laos: a crucial issue

HI launched its first depollution operations in Laos in June 1996: it consists in "collecting" remains of exploded bombs, pieces of bombs, explosive residues, grenades, ammunitions... The deminers also detect larger bombs, often weighing several hundred kilos, which did not explode on impact and transport them to a specialized site to be detonated.
Laos is mainly known for its contamination by cluster bombs (small bombs as big as a tennis ball) that the association detonates on site. Laos has the highest level of cluster bomb contamination in the world. 1 200 km² of areas (more than ten times Paris) have already been identified as dangerous.
The demining by HI in Laos started in June 1996.
•    HI has decontaminated 1,5 million square meters since 2018 in Houaphan province ;
•    5 millions square meters since 2006 in Houaphan and Savannakhet provinces.
•    Since 2019, Hi has destroyed 6,710 unexploded ordnances.

More news