Noralba Guarin is one of many women currently helping to clear minefields on a remote wooded hillside in southwestern Colombia. After 52 years of civil war in Columbia, the country remains one of the most mine-scarred countries in the world.
Conflict forced Guarin to flee her home twice. She first fled at the age of 13 to avoid being forcibly recruited by rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). She fled again years later, as rebels threatened her while she was pregnant. Today, Guarin works for a British de-mining group known the Halo Trust, helping to clear landmines planted by the FARC in their fight against government troops.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation recently interviewed Guarin, who openly shared her story:
At the start of the day, the first thing you think is that ‘I know that here in front of me, there could be mines where I haven’t yet cleared’ … I have to be cautious and careful and follow what I’ve been taught and trained to do to the letter.
Guarin’s full interview can be read by clicking here.
A widow and mother of two young children, the 26-year-old Guarin began her de-mining job a year ago. She is one of a number of women who are making an immense contribution to de-mining efforts in Columbia and around the world. Please watch this short video for more information on war widows and the efforts to clear landmines in Colombia.