Handicap International Minesweeps for the Innocent Victims of Landmines

There are over one million active mines around the world ready to explode, maiming or killing innocent civilians.  Imagine living in constant fear of stepping on a landmine while simply walking to work, or that your child steps on a mine while playing outside. This is the heartbreaking daily reality for millions of people in 60 countries and territories around the world. Decades after conflicts end, civilian casualties from landmines continue with horrific consequences for innocent civilians which goes on for decades. Wars may have a clear end on a political and military level, but the repercussions on civilian casualties ticks on inexorably for years and years to come.

Nobel Peace Prize winning NGO Handicap International, also known as Humanity Inclusion, helps victims of mines in conflict zones. They have launched an awareness and fundraising campaign to help those innocent civilians most in need from the horror of landmines. 

Real Minesweeper’ is a multi channel campaign created by Antwerp based independent creative agency Mutant. Spearheading the campaign is a recreation of iconic 90’s game ‘Minesweeper’ which features a grid of clickable tiles, with hidden “mines” scattered throughout the board.  The objective is to clear the board without detonating any mines. Players of this version of the game can experience for themselves how it feels to walk in the shoes of real de-miners in Ukraine, Iraq and Laos. Whilst playing a game of Minesweeper, we are introduced to some of the victims and 270 Minesweeping heroes who clear contaminated areas every day, and for whom, this is no game.

This new digital experience is accessed via a web browser on desktop and mobile at realminesweeper.be.  Supporting the digital experience is a TV, digital, cinema and print campaign ran on Belgian national television, cinema and online from 27th November until 5th December.

Antoine Sépulchre, General Director of Handicap International Belgium said: “We employ 4793 people in 8 countries and are active in more than 60 countries. Our mission requires a lot of time, a lot of financial resources and a lot of risk. Locals are trained by Handicap International as de-miners, awareness-raising sessions are given to the local population and we provide support in the form of prosthetics and rehabilitation care. However, we are already short of hands and financial resources and, given the current global situation, this will not improve in the coming years. We are highly motivated to make the world a safer place one mine at a time, but we cannot do it alone.”

Jonathan d’Oultremont, creative, Mutant added: “To most people, landmines appear to be something from the past. Unfortunately, the issue is more present than ever. So we wanted to raise awareness in a recognizable and emotional way, via an experience. Minesweeper is one of the first mini video games that almost everyone has played, from 1992 it was included in the standard install of Windows. When you apply this same game set up to real maps, with real data on the number of mines and casualties, the experience takes on a whole new dimension. That’s how we turned the iconic minesweeper game into a fundraising tool to sweep mines in the real world.”

Funds raised are used to de-mine contaminated areas, organise awareness sessions teaching children and adults how to recognise mines and avoid accidents, facilitate access to prosthetics, rehabilitation care and psychological help.

For more information about Handicap International Belgium: https://www.handicapinternational.be/

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