This International Women’s Day, we’re sharing the stories of some incredible women who work with us around the world.
Whether they clear landmines and unexploded bombs or provide life-saving lessons to families, they are showing the world there is no better tool for development than women’s empowerment.
And above all their dedication helps ensure a safer future for women, men and children affected by conflict.
New deminers in South Sudan
Twenty amazing women graduated from MAG’s first all-female demining class in South Sudan in June including, Natasha , Christine, Jackeline, and Rose. They are now all qualified to remove landmines.
Natasha, pictured far left, used to work for MAG as a cook.
“At first I was not sure about being a deminer because I was afraid,” she told us. “But now I am very happy to be working as a deminer for MAG, I love my job.”
She added: “I am a mother of two children, landmines and unexploded bombs are more dangerous to children because they don’t know.”
Empowering women through training and employment in technical roles is one of MAG’s priorities.
Bounma in Laos
Bounma grew up in Langkhang village close to the Ho Chi Minh Trail that was heavily bombed during the Vietnam War. The area remains contaminated with unexploded bombs to this day.
She now works for MAG and was promoted to Field Supervisor, meaning she leads operations in her district, managing several clearance teams.
“It is a big responsibility,” Bounma explained. “But I enjoy my work and I may be small but I'm doing big things.
“I remember hearing about accidents when I was growing up. People used to get injured searching for scrap metal. This is why I joined MAG and do clearance; I don’t want to hear about any more accidents”.
The Laos teams have already destroyed over 300 unexploded bombs from Langkhang village alone.
Nazy, Nahla and Nazo in Iraq
Nazy, Nahla and Nazo, all Yazidis who were persecuted under ISIS rule, recently started working for us as deminers in Sinjar, Iraq.
Sinjar was liberated from ISIS control in 2016, but areas are still littered with improvised landmines threatening those who live there and others who want to return.
Nazy told us of the pride she feels doing such important work.
“I decided to join MAG to support my community and clear the city that once was my home,” she said. “After all the woes we’ve witnessed as Yazidi people, I now believe that we can achieve gender equality in our society by standing together.”
Nazo echoes this sentiment.
“I am very proud of myself as a woman, having enough courage and strength to be involved in this mission that saves people’s lives in Iraq, she said. “All my friends and family are very supportive.”
At MAG we’re committed to promoting the empowerment and full participation of women in all aspects of our work.
Because, as these stories show, empowering women empowers everyone.