How did all of this begin?
In 2009, we began working in a village on the border of Cambodia named "The MineField Village". This village is nestled along a 450 mile border where the largest concentration of land mines in the world is located. Five hundred families call this village home and live as the poorest of the poor. Out of desperation, they have squatted on land no one wants. It is ground that was filled with land mines planted by the Khmer Rouge some 40 years ago. Only recently has the land begun to be swept and cleared of its deadly explosives. There is no electricity, no clean water, very little to eat. Yet these families have built huts and are daily seeking ways to feed their families…they seek ways to merely survive. It is within this village that LandMine Design began.
Seeing the dire needs of the people living in the village, our hearts began to break for the choices young moms and teen women face just to feed their families. Many have made the difficult choice to leave their families for months at a time and find work as migrant farm hands in nearby Thailand where they earn less than a dollar a day. Their children are left to fend for themselves while the parents work in back-breaking labor to earn pitiful wages. As a village situated near the border, human trafficking is a constant threat and an all-too-real possibility for women who are desperate. LandMine Design was created to give women in the MineField a chance to make a living from their own homes where they can care for their families while earning the funds desperately needed to feed their hungry babies. We began in 2012 teaching six women the craftsmanship of creating jewelry out of rolled paper beads.
As a job creation program of our parent non-profit, LightBridge International (www.lightbridgeonline.org), LandMine Design, LandMine Design is one more step toward sustainability for the people who call the MineField home.