"Every day in a child's life is a day of new advantages and discoveries. Any child might fall down and scratch their hand or foot, but this is common in life and, as we say, it will heal before they are married. But such dangers as cluster bombs and other munitions pose can result in the loss of a hand or a foot or even a life, which will change the child's life forever. Before the clearance we were scared to let our children play beyond the playground. Thanks to HALO and The Julia Burke Foundation we now can be sure that our children's lives are safe and nothing serious poses a danger to them. Their happy and smiling faces are the warmest thank you, which we would like to pass to HALO and The Julia Burke Foundation."
These are words of Marine Gevorkyan, a mother and teacher in Jabrail Village in Nagorno Karabakh. The HALO Trust, the staff of HALO Nagorno Karabakh, and the people of Nagorno Karabakh are profoundly grateful to The Julia Burke Foundation for its generous support. The benefit in terms of lives and limbs saved is incalculable. HALO was pleased to present letters of thanks from the President and Prime Minster of Nagorno Karabakh to Marilyn and Jerry Burke.This year, The Foundation is supporting HALO's important new program in Zimbabwe.
Similar to the citizens of Nagorno Karabakh, Zimbabweans live with explosive remnants of war, which threaten injury and death, and block access to valuable land for farming. The urgency of the issue was highlighted by a recent accident when a 16-year old boy lost his leg to a landmine The Julia Burke Foundation has provided critical start-up support to assist HALO with the survey of this land and to lay the strong foundation upon which HALO will train and deploy hundreds of local deminers in 2012 and 2013.
HALO would like to thank The Julia Burke Foundation for its longstanding commitment to a minefree world. Where The Julia Burke Foundation has cleared minefields and battlefields, farmers are now planting their crops, homes and roads are being rebuilt, and children play, secure in the knowledge that their next step will be a safe one.
The Foundation has provided for the training, equipping and deployment of additional HALO demining and Battle Area Clearance (BAC) in Nagorno Karabakh. Fortunately, the increased workforce means landmine removal will be completed sooner than in the originally expected seven years.
As of August 2008 HALO's Julia Burke Foundation teams conducting Mine clearance and Battle Area Clearance in Nagorno Karabakh have achieved the following impressive results:
Currently, The Julia Burke Foundation is partnering with HALO Nagorno Karabakh in a humanitarian effort to clear landmines. Mine clearance is the backbone of HALO's work in Nagorno Karabakh and the Foundation is providing the training, equipping and deployment of additional HALO deminers in the area. Though the war is over, Karabakh suffers a significant threat from mines and explosive remnants of war. In fact, Nagorno Karabakh has the world's highest per capita mine casualty rate – surpassing even Afghanistan and Cambodia.
The Foundation has offered to match additional funding raised over the next two years to clear this area. Landmine clearance is vital to the present and future of Nagorno Karabakh and even a small donation will enable HALO to destroy a landmine and save a life. For more information please contact HALO USA toll free: 1 (877) HALO USA or visit their website at www.halousa.org/help.html
This year The Julia Burke Foundation has supported a scholarship program in Nagorno Karabakh called "Taghandavor Yeridasardner" (literally, "talented youth"). Begun in 2005, Taghandavor Yeridasardner provides higher education and professional development for youth showing potential for major contributions in fine arts, performing arts, education, sports, and filmmaking. The program has been developed in conjunction with the NKR Ministry of Education, and currently applies to youth residing in the capital (Stepanakert) and nearby districts. This program has supported more than 90 deserving youth, offering scholarships, travel stipends, musical instruments, and other items they need to advance in their fields.
While many of the applicants do come from families that have suffered from the war; the larger objective of the Tufenkian Foundation is to combat the prevailing "brain drain" in Karabakh by fostering conditions attracting high-quality talent. By doing so, they hope that these talents may, in turn, contribute to the welfare of this fledgling republic; thereby promoting its peaceful development and self-sufficiency.
For more information, visit www.tufenkianfoundation.org