Legacies of War is the leading international U.S.-based educational and advocacy organization working to address the impact of conflict in Laos during the Vietnam War era, including removal of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and survivor assistance.
We are working toward a future of healing and hope in Laos when there are zero deaths and injuries from unexploded bombs, when all survivors receive the support that they need, and when people can farm and build on their land in safety and peace.
From Washington, D.C., we engage and establish relationships with governments, civil society and individuals, especially from the Lao diaspora, to raise awareness and increase financial support for clearance of UXO in Laos. We work directly with key decision-makers in the U.S. government – including Congress and the Administration – and with the private sector and media outlets to provide these influential groups with compelling information and analysis. We serve as a convenor and organizer of partner organizations and individuals seeking to resolve the UXO problem in Laos.
Since Legacies’ founding in 2004 by Channapha Khamvongsa, U.S. funding to clear UXO from Laos and help survivors has increased 20 fold - from $1.3 million in 2004 to $37.5 million in 2020, which has led to:
- Conducting national surveys and clearing bombs. Sixty teams are completing the first-ever national survey, with a goal of increasing efficiency and effectiveness in clearing land. Over 1.3 million UXO pieces have been recovered from farms and villages, opening up land for food production and development.
- Saving lives. Deaths and injuries from UXO, which were as high as 302 annually in 2008, are down to under 50 in 2019, an 86 percent decrease. But less than one percent of the bombs have been cleared, impacting people’s daily lives and development progress. Our bold goal is zero deaths and injuries within ten years.
- Supporting survivors. Those who have been maimed or injured are healing and thriving through a groundbreaking interagency project to strengthen disability services. There are at least 12,000 victims and their families who need support.
- Achieving development goals. UXO contaminates a third of the land in Laos, making it inaccessible for agriculture and development. U.S. support for the UXO removal sector supports the Sustainable Development Goals by clearing the path to peace, security, and development for a critical partner in Asia.
- Strengthening bilateral relations. Sustained commitment to the UXO removal sector in Laos ensures a strong U.S. presence in Southeast Asia, an area of growing markets and economic vitality important for long-term U.S. trade interests.
In bringing greater attention and increasing resources, we’ve helped to make a real impact on the ground in Laos: more land being cleared, lives being saved and additional care and services available for the approximately 20,000 UXO victims living in Laos. To this end, Legacies brings people together and creates healing and transformation out of the wreckage of war.