Press Release

The Humpty Dumpty Institute


For Immediate Release

October 24th, 2011

New York City, NY – The Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI) is pleased to announce the launch of an innovative 18-month pilot program to establish special Survivors Assistance and Mine Risk Education programs inside the country of Myanmar (Burma). This project will be implemented through a unique and formal partnership between the Institute and the Sitagu Association, the largest Buddhist humanitarian organization in Myanmar. The Sitagu Association implements a wide variety of humanitarian activities inside Burma from large-scale water projects and emergency disaster relief to construction of schools and management of a network of 16 hospitals throughout the country, half of which are located in or near the most heavily mine-contaminated states in Myanmar. The U.S. Department of State, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement is funding this program.

Myanmar faces one of the most severe landmine problems in the world today. Yet little is known about the actual extent of this problem and its impact on affected populations inside the country. Landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Myanmar are concentrated mainly along its border with Thailand, but also to a lesser extent on its borders with Laos, China and Bangladesh, and in eastern parts of the country marked by decades-old struggles for autonomy by ethnic minorities. The most recent figures available suggest that mine accident rates in Myanmar are among the highest in the world.

Ralph L. Cwerman, the President of HDI, said that the program’s major goal “is to build local capacity among the medical staff of the Sitagu hospital network in order to treat physical and psychological injuries of the Burmese, especially children”. Cwerman added that “strenuous efforts would be made to educate as many villagers as possible about the danger of landmines and unexploded bombs and how to avoid being injured.” HDI will accomplish these goals by working closely with the Sitagu Association and using the hospital network as a base for operations.

HDI will establish teams of health and education professionals to make regular visits to various hospital sites in Burma to train the hospital staff in the fields of prosthetics and psychological trauma. The hospitals will also host mine risk education workshops for local village leaders in and around heavily mine contaminated areas. The doctors and nurses who are currently part of the hospital network are trained surgeons, but they have little experience with surgical techniques and medical treatment for amputees. There are also no counselors available who have the appropriate psycho-social training required to care for survivors. Additionally, through this program, the Humpty Dumpty Institute will also develop alliances with various local and cross-border international mine action NGOs in order to deliver prosthetics, medicines, and other needed equipment to populations inside Burma using the Sitagu Association and its network.


The Humpty Dumpty Institute is a unique non-profit organization serving people in the developing world through the implementation of large-scale humanitarian projects and through fostering dialogue between the United Nations and a variety of constituencies aimed at making the international body an even more effective institution. To learn more about our programs, please visit our website at For more detailed information on our humanitarian programs in Asia, please contact Ann-Kristin Odegard, HDI Mine Action Officer, at