Carmen* is the single mother of three children who used to work picking coffee and helping with other seasonal agricultural activities to provide for her children. One day while she was looking for firewood for her stove she heard a click and thought it was the snapping of a dry twig: it was a landmine. Her foot was blown off, she bled profusely and lost consiousness.
When she woke up, she was in the hospital of Ocotal, Nicaragua. After a few months she received a prosthesis from an NGO working for landmine survivors but, some five years later the prosthesis was broken beyond repair and she did not have a replacement for her prosthesis. She was walking on crutches again and, as she herself put it: “to have a prosthesis and not get a replacement, is like being amputated twice”.
The Social and Economic Integration Project (SEIP) developed by FURWUS, a Nicaraguan foundation sponsored by the ICRC’s Special Fund for the Disabled provided Carmen with a new prosthesis and a small grant to improve her little business of selling second-hand clothes. The SEIP project also provided her with a new sewing machine to alter clothing to fit her customers.
At present Carmen is an active member of her community and a great example of a person who has achieved a better quality of life, in spite of her disability, thanks to her own willpower… and her new prosthesis.
*Name changed to protect privacy.