We support The Halo Trust
This is a true story that begins with someone breaking the law on copyright and ending up in court, a little girl in Afghanistan, landmines, this GCSE website and the Halo Trust .....
Some weeks ago I received an email from a teacher who regularly uses this site, asking if I knew that my CDs were being copied and sold on eBay. Of course I didn't know about this and I was very angry because someone was clearly breaking the law on copyright and profiting from all my hard work. Within 6 hours a lawsuit was issued and the culprit is now facing court action and a lifelong suspension from eBay.
That evening, my anger still swirling around in my head, I sat down to watch the BBC 10 o'clock News. I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts I didn't really hear a word of what was said. Then, towards the end of the News, there was a report from Afghanistan that just tore me apart. It showed a little girl of about 8 years old who had spent most of her life tending her family's goats in some remote valley in the mountains. Today however, every trace of her carefree, child's life had gone, because she was lying on a blood-soaked stretcher, her foot having been blown off by a landmine. The pain in this poor child's face was indescribable . Instead of the smiling eyes of a child, her eyes showed a suffering beyond what any child should experience. Her eyes screamed at me; they screamed not only with agony but with wild incomprehension about what had happened, about why it had happened, why? why?
I sat there, 5,000 miles away, in my comfortable armchair, unable to believe what I was seeing. This small child had such a beautiful, intelligent look - the sort of look every teacher dreams of - you could see the promise and potential in her face despite the pain; and yet, here she was, having to face the rest of her life physically disabled and her innocent world psychologically blown apart.
As I watched I began to feel ashamed - ashamed of my anger. It felt so misplaced. If there was anything I should feel anger against, if there was anything I should be enraged about, surely it should be against what had happened to this poor girl? As I watched her face I saw the faces of my own small children in hers, and it seemed so wrong that I could just sit there and listen to the weather forecast and simply do nothing. I kept on asking myself 'What can I do?' And it didn't help matters when the reporter went on to explain that many of the landmines left over from the Soviet occupation, had been supplied by companies in the UK! It was then I had the idea of somehow linking this GCSE website to an organisation devoted to clearing landmines. It didn't take me long to find The Halo Trust.
The Halo Trust is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious Charity, registered in the UK, specifically set up to remove the debris of war. Their mission statement is simple "to get mines out of the ground, now". What also particularly attracted me to The Halo Trust was how donated money was spent. The money is used to train and to pay local people to clear their land of unexploded munitions - mostly landmines. Thus the land is not only cleared of mines, it's cleared by local people who want to reclaim their land for cultivation. The Halo Trust was also the Charity that organised Princess Diana's famous walk through a field of landmines in Angola.
So, the arrangement is that, from now on, 10% of every order made on this GCSE website will be donated to The Halo Trust. Hence, when using this website, teachers, pupils and students will not only be revising for their GCSEs, they will, at the same time, be helping to rid the world of landmines. And, although it may sound a little far-fetched and grandiose, their contribution might one day help all the world's children to live, play and run without fear - and this is, surely, the birthright of every child on our planet.
Dr. Zargle, June 2005