For the survivors of a traumatic UXO incident, the medical care often costs more than the average family’s annual income, and survivors who have serious injuries to the face, torso, and arms frequently cannot return to the jobs in which they were formerly employed. The Survivors’ Economic and Technical Assistance (SETA) project worked to improve the economic situation for 160 UXO survivors and their families in Salavan and Xieng Khouang provinces, two areas of Laos impacted the most by unexploded remnants of war.
SETA provided vocational and economic assistance to UXO and landmine survivors through medical care, training courses, small business startup support, and follow-up technical assistance. Through funding from the War Victims Medical Fund, the project supported emergency and follow-up medical care for survivors after injury. World Education provided training in trades that the survivors were capable of performing, such as animal husbandry, fish farming, weaving, and tailoring. It also provided small grants to UXO survivors so that they could invest in initial purchase of animals or in vaccines, food, and materials needed to establish a tenable trade. Throughout the course of training and during follow-up, SETA staff discussed economic planning principles with recipients to help them make business decisions about spending their funds. UXO survivors who completed this course of technical training averaged a 30% profit and consistently reinvested their profits back into their businesses.