Bounmy, Laos

“It’s a wonderful idea to use soccer to teach children about unexploded bombs. I never thought there could be such a link.”

In Lao PDR, the most heavily-bombed country in the world, the majority of the population makes a living by subsistence farming. In order to survive, families take huge risks by farming polluted land.

In 1995, Bounmy Vichack was planting rice near his village in Xieng Khouang province when he triggered an unexploded bomb. The explosion blew off Bounmy’s left arm, and almost killed him.

Many victims of landmines and ERW face stigmatization and isolation, but Bounmy didn’t let his injury stop him and in March of 2011 he was among 29 other candidates applying to be the first Spirit of Soccer coaches in Laos as part of a program supported by the US State Department.

“This is so special for our team, for our community and for our country,” says Bounmy, who is still a part time coach with Spirit of Soccer. “It’s a wonderful idea to use soccer to teach Lao PDR children about unexploded bombs. I never thought there could be such a link.”