© Mary Wareham
As ICBL Youth Ambassador, Kosal represents youth campaigners and survivors at events worldwide. Kosal has succeeded in putting a face to the many lesser-known young landmine survivors around the world.
One afternoon, at age six, Song Kosal’s life was changed forever. While working in the rice paddies with her mother in a quiet town on the Thai-Cambodian border, she stepped on a landmine. Kosal’s right leg was severely injured and had to be amputated. She now walks with the assistance of a single crutch.
When she was 12, with the support of the Jesuit Refugee Service, Kosal became active in the Cambodian Campaign to Ban Landmines. After campaigning extensively in Cambodia, she travelled to Vienna, Austria in 1995 and spoke to government officials at the Convention on Conventional Weapons. She was the first person to sign the People's Treaty in Ottawa, Canada, and was present in Oslo, Norway, when the ICBL and Jody Williams were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
"Sometimes as a child I dreamed that I had two legs again and I ran freely in the ricefields, feeling the grass under my toes," said Kosal. "I really wish that soon children can play without danger, with no more mines in our fields."
Kosal has taken her message to Spain, Australia, Japan, Canada, United States, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Mozambique, Morocco, Belgium, Switzerland and France. She has met with heads of states and dignitaries around the world including the King of Cambodia, Queen of Spain, Queen of Jordan, and the US Secretary of State. She has given addresses at the Hague Appeal for Peace and Meetings of States Parties. She created the Youth Against War Treaty and presented the over 263,000 signatures collected to the Bush administration in 2001 in an effort to influence the US to join the Mine Ban Treaty. That same year Kosal was named ICBL Youth Ambassador.