I’ll never forget sitting down to lunch and first hearing the story of how our organization stumbled upon The MineField Village and its desperation. It was about six years ago when our Director, Karla Tillapaugh, first heard of this village and made her way to Cambodia. LightBridge International deeply cares for and sets out to equip the orphan through its initiatives within Thailand and Burma, so in seek of orphans to care for, something quite different was about to unfold.
Karla and a small team made their way over the Thailand border into Cambodia where they were soon met with 500 families living on top of an active minefield. The land and its people were scarred, the devastation described was unfathomable. Brokenness and helplessness set in and these feelings lingered in Karla’s heart. Karla witnessed children living in a state of poverty she had never before seen and found herself among about 30 children staring at her in curiosity and fear. This was the first time this remote village had ever had western visitors, the first time opportunity crossed their path of poverty.
In an effort to entertain the fearful eyes staring back at her, Karla began getting out supplies for a simple coloring project. With supplies laid out and instructions given to the best of her ability, she was met with silence and blank stares. These children had never before seen a crayon, the concept of how to hold one was foreign.
Overcome with disbelief at the lack of opportunity and prosperity, Karla stopped.
This profound moment is when hopelessness redefined itself as an opportunity. While Karla didn’t know how to save a village, she knew how to teach a child to hold a crayon. While she didn’t know how to bring forth a formal education system, she saw deserving and longing eyes before her whom she was convicted to serve.
At Landmine Design, we’ve never claimed to know everything about community development or to possess knowledge on how to challenge and transform the prevalence of poverty at large. At Landmine Design we see yearning eyes, deserving hearts, and have a collective dedication to take steps forward daily.
The simplicity of a crayon sparked the contagion of hope we see multiplying itself today. The simplicity of a crayon changed the posture of one fearless leader causing her to lean in deeply to the needs of an entire village. Today The MineField Village has a school through third grade, but that is not enough, and we’re fighting for opportunity beyond third grade for children who today undoubtedly know how to hold a crayon, but deserve to learn far more in the years to come.
Donate now to help as we set out to arm children with an education to be dangerously fatal to the cycle of poverty. Donate now if you believe in the power of one small action like the simplicity of holding a crayon - yet a crayon has always possessed the ability to write a story and a beautifully colorful one at that.