TEDWomen 2013: Invented Here

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Lamis Zein

Norwegian People's Aid, Site Supervisor

Lamis is the first Lebanese woman who has qualified to conduct demolitions of cluster submunitions. Formerly an English teacher, she found her new calling after the Israeli shelling in the summer of 2006 when four million cluster submunitions were dropped on South Lebanon. Today, hundreds of thousands of these remain unexploded, posing a threat to the people who live there, as well as rendering large tracts of land unsafe for use.

Lamis joined Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), an organization that is executing clearance of these unexploded submunitions. Her family’s initial reaction was not very positive—they deemed the work too dangerous and not appropriate for a woman. Traditionally, this incredibly dangerous work has been undertaken by men. But Lamis persevered with her mission to work as a searcher, and is now a site supervisor, heading an all-female clearance team. Lamis is committed to clearing Lebanon of these dangerous weapons, and to making this land safe again for its people, including for her two young daughters.


7 Responses to Lamis Zein

  1. Khaled says:

    Excellent speech! Well done and keep it up :)

  2. Mary says:

    Last question! Does Lamis also have experience clearing landmines? Has she ever worked on land contaminated by both landmines and cluster munition remnants/unexploded submunitions?

    • Lamis Zein says:

      Hi Mary.
      I personnaly do not have experience clearing landmines. But there is still a lot of landmines in Lebanon from the civil war as well as Israeli occupation of South Lebanonon. Some of my colleagues in the NPA programme are actually trained to clear both cluster munitions and landmines as in some instances, the cluster munition strikes also contain landmines from the earlier times and we need to be able to have people who can deal with this mixed contamination.

  3. Mary says:

    How many unexploded submunitions has Lamis cleared? What is the most common type she clears and destroys?

  4. Mary says:

    What did Lamis and her family do during the 2006 conflict with Israel?

    • Lamis Zein says:

      Hi Mary.
      I was in Tyre for the first 15 days of the attacks. After my mother’s family lost 5 members during one of them, my family went to Saida, which is a city app. 40 kilometres north of Tyre.