Halo Trust scoops overall award at Charity Awards 2012
The Halo Trust was recognised as the overall winner of the 2012 Charity Awards for an awe-inspiring landmine clearance campaign in Sri Lanka which has enabled 190,000 people to return safely to their homes.
After the end of the Sri Lanka civil war in 2009, landmine casualties rose significantly as people displaced during the conflict began to return home. In response, the Halo Trust led a massive landmine clearance programme, which saw over 100,000 landmines destroyed.
By the end of 2011, Halo had cleared just over two million square metres of minefield, more in one year than had been cleared between 2002 and 2009.
The land is now used for school playgrounds, medical facilities, paddy fields, roads, houses and gardens, temples and fishing jetties.
The Halo Trust’s chief executive Guy Willoughby accepted the award, sponsored by CAF, on behalf of the charity in front of an appreciative audience of more than 700 voluntary sector leaders, parliamentarians and celebrities at a dazzling gala event at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane last night.
He said: “We’ve been clearing landmines for nearly 25 years. It’s really rather sad because western Europe - France, Holland, Belgium - was cleared in six or seven years through massive effort.
"We’ve been trying to do the same in Angola, Mozambique, Kosovo, Cambodia…we have 8,000 staff working day in, day out on their hands and knees, with some machinery help, to clear landmines.
"We get to our 25th birthday next year and what we really hope is that we never get to our 50th. We must finish the job.
"There is only one good thing about landmines and that is they don't have sex. Landmines do not breed. Once you’ve cleared them, that’s it, they're gone forever, you've destroyed them and people can get on with their lives.
"So what we're really trying to do at Halo Trust over the next few years is finish clearing landmines in Mozambique, Angola and Cambodia.
“This award is a big thank you for the 8,000 people out there working their butts off to clear landmines every day. Thank you.”
Overall award is sponsored by