Meet the Artisans
Behind every piece of jewelry is the skilled artistry of a woman -- a woman and her story of redemption. We'd like to introduce you to the maker of your Landmine Design piece and give you a glimpse into her story.
LOCATION AND PROGRAM MANAGER
Leakhena is a young wife, mom, teacher and team member. She is one of our Landmine Design mangers and educators. Leakhena could be described as the glue that holds this program together in Cambodia. Each week, she spends time with the women teaching them, coaching them, listening to their heartache, and helping them improve their lives. She visits their homes, helps with jewelry assignments, translates and more. Leakhena is always looking for more women to hire into the program and assesses their needs and progress. She also handles all of the financial aspects of the program in Cambodia. Leakhena is married with two children. She and her husband pastor a church in Poi Pet, the border town near the MineField Village. She also started a pre-school and kindergarten which she operates from her church.
Leakhena is an incredible leader, friend and mentor.
Serving as a manager for one of our newest Landmine programs, Kosal also works as an assistant manager in our flagship Landmine program. With a tender heart for others, Kosal can be found deeply engaged in conversations with artisans where she offers support, advice, Christian discipleship, and authentic care. When not working for Landmine Design, you can find Kosal caring for her three children and husband, taking English classes daily, or offering her skills and heart in her local church.
INVENTORY MANAGERChi Chi is 20 years old and newly married to her husband, Nan. Together they run a church and an English school in the village where they live. Chi Chi is outgoing, sweet and loves people. Her role as inventory manager is to oversee all supplies that go into producing our jewelry and textiles, as well as assisting Leakhena in caring for our artisans.
LeeMeet Lee! Lee has been a part of the Landmine Design program for five years. Shortly after our program started in the Minefield Village in 2013, Lee noticed the positive changes in the lives of her neighbors who had joined us. She’s the mother of six beautiful children, and desires to provide them with better education and opportunities than she had as a child. Over the last five years, she’s furthered her education and learned the importance of using clean water. She uses her resources to invest in things that will keep her family safe and healthy. Just this year she built a brand new home that will better protect from snakes and rain, and also uses her income to purchase bottles of clean water in town. We’re so proud of the ways she’s grown and the way she cares for the people around her!
Srey Vong is 18 years old, and is a full time student as well as a full time artisan at Landmine Design. She joined our program two and a half years ago, after watching her older sister, Srey Mom, learn and grow with us for years. She often tagged along to meetings with her sister, and helped with jewelry projects from time to time. We’re so proud of her dedication to school, her friends and the jewelry she creates. Her favorite subject is math and she dreams of one day becoming an accountant!
Somphors is a sweet, 21 year old student. At 16 years old, Somphors was hired into our program and became the youngest girl to ever work with us. We saw the need for young girls to find stable, dignified employment where they could have the freedom to finish school, while also earning an income to support the family. For the last five years, Somphors has worked hard, pouring her heart into the jewelry she creates with Landmine Design, while also staying extremely dedicated to her education. This year, she will be the first woman in our program to ever graduate high school! Her dream is to one day become a teacher (and we know she will!).
This is Srey Mom -- one of the original women who joined our program back in 2013. During a short period of time in her Landmine Design employment, she made the decision to marry a young man from the village and go to Thailand with him. There, she worked under dangerous and exploitative conditions on a banana plantation. When her husband would go to town for food, Srey Mom would hide under banana leaves until he returned; the abuse from other workers and the farm owner was a very real threat. For many months we waited and hoped that she would return to Cambodia and rejoin the program. A few years ago, she returned with her husband and welcomed her very first baby girl into the world! She’s now 23 years old and is one of our most skilled jewelers, working hard and bringing joy to any room with her sweet smile. Her dream is to one day open her own motorcycle repair shop!
Srey Ya is a witty and fun, 41 year old mother of five. Before joining our program in 2015, she worked in the rice fields, doing hard manual labor day after day for little pay. She became a jeweler at Landmine Design in hopes that she would create a better future for her children (and believe us when we say, she has). Not only has Srey Ya improved in her reading and writing skills, she’s also learned how to save and invest her income. This year, she built a brand new home for her family from the money that she’s carefully managed. She now passes her knowledge to her children and is paving the way for the next generation.
Barang is 19 years old and has been a part of the Landmine Design family for four years. Barang actually grew up in the MineField Village and was a student in the school we run in her village; we’ve known her since she was a young girl! In her early teens, Barang’s family forced her to drop out of school and work laboriously in agricultural fields out of desperation for money. Education in a place like the Minefield Village is vital in creating sustainable, successful adulthoods. We saw the need for Barang to have full-time, dignified employment so that she could go back to school and finish her education. Now, Barang is back in school and enjoys creating jewelry with the other students in our program. She dreams of one day becoming an artist, and loves using the extra materials from our jewelry projects to create her own designs!
Vurn has been with us since the very beginning. Vurn’s story is one of desperation, exploitation and hope. As a 50 year old woman with three kids and a disabled husband, Vurn is no stranger to hardship and the desire to simply provide. For a time, she crossed the border into Thailand in search of work where she experienced various forms of horrific human trafficking. Over the last seven years of employment with us, she’s been empowered, educated and is a beautiful illustration of what can happen when cycles of poverty are broken, and women are set free to dream. She now uses her dignified income to invest in crops, livestock and farming equipment and sells what she produces at a market in town. In the last year, she has also begun building a brand new beautiful home, where she hopes to bring her family to live together.
Chor VornChor Vorn is a fun, spunky 19 year old student. She joined the Landmine Design team one year ago, after watching her friends learn and grow with us and attending weekly meetings. Chor Vorn works hard to excel in her school work as well as her craft as an artisan. We’re so excited to watch her flourish as she continues working with us, and we’re so thankful that she will never know the horrors of trafficking that so many who have gone before her have experienced. She dreams of one day graduating and becoming a superstar!
Pai joined Landmine Design five years ago. Pregnant with her first child, Pai and her husband were hit on the motto they were driving. Pai’s husband was hospitalized and in a coma for months; Pai stayed by his side every day, praying he would survive. Pai also suffered injuries as did the baby she was carrying. When Pai’s husband woke from his coma, he learned that his baby suffered severe brain injuries in the accident. Once released from the hospital, Pai’s husband left her and the soon-to-be-born baby she was carrying. We met Pai after she had moved back to her dad’s home and was given a shack for her and her baby (Ganya) to live in behind the family home. Her family believed Ganya was ‘bad luck’ and would not allow her or the baby to be in the house even when storms ravaged their little hut. It was heartbreaking. Though we had no funds to hire Pai at the time, we knew we had to do something. We hired her and trusted that God would provide the funds to keep her employed, safe, and cared for. That was five years ago. Since then, we were so grateful to build Pai a new home -- one that keeps her and her family safe. Speaking of her family, Pai fell in love with a kind man and married him over a year ago. They now have a sweet baby boy adding such joy to their family of four.
Meet So Payak -- a 33 year old mother of four. For many years, So Payak had a dangerous job as a construction worker. With little education, it was the best job that she could find in order to provide for her family. Day after day, she did hard manual labor in an effort to take care of her children and make ends meet. Three years ago, So Payak joined the Landmine Design family and has since been empowered, earns a fair wage and works from the safety of her home. She dreams of one day having her own store!
Meet So Thy! She works as the lead seamstress in our sewing program, Landmine Design “Dai”. So Thy is 42 years old, and the mother of four children. She became a widow a few years ago when her husband died in a traumatic accident. Since then, she has been the sole provider for her family. With great skill as a seamstress, she joined our program three years ago and excelled very quickly. She is incredibly talented and often the one who brings our designs to life! One day she dreams of opening her very own tailoring business. (We’re also celebrating with her, as she recently found love again and married a man who loves and cares for her and her children so, so well!)
Chan SearnChan Searn is 42 years old and has three beautiful children. To wear her story is to wear hope! Once an impoverished seamstress who made clothes from her home earning pennies for each piece, she is now using her sewing experience to create textiles for Landmine Design (and has been for the last three years!). Chan Searn now earns a livable wage and works in proper conditions. She dreams of one day opening her own store, and works hard every day to make that dream come true.
Sarath is a 44 year old mother of two. She has been a part of our sewing program for nearly three years! Sarath runs a coffee shop out of her home in the city of Poipet and has also generously dedicated a portion of her home to serve as our sewing “office”. Her sweet spirit binds our sewing team together like family. Earning a dignified income as a seamstress has allowed her to expand and make improvements to her family’s store (and also keeps our team well caffeinated with yummy beverages during the Landmine workdays).
Srey Pov is a 38 year old single mother of four. Prior to her employment with Landmine Design, she crossed one of the most heavily trafficked borders in the world every day to work as a construction worker in Thailand. Day after day, she worked a job that forced her to leave her family behind and subjected herself to the risk of trafficking in order to provide. A year and a half ago, she joined our team of skilled seamstresses and now works a safe, dignified job close to home and beyond the reach of traffickers. She dreams of one day opening her very own store.
This is E Pov! She’s a sweet 50 year old, single mother of five. Before coming to work for Landmine Design, she sold vegetables that she grew from her home at the local market. A year and a half ago, we welcomed her to our team and she learned to sew. Now she earns a stable, dignified income in order to care for her family and work toward her dreams. She loves to cook and desires to one day open her very own restaurant.
AyaAya is a 47 year old single mom of three. Her story is one of exploitation and redemption, as she comes up on two years in our sewing program. You see, before her employment with Landmine Design, Aya worked for a factory sewing jean shorts for 29 cents a pair. On a good day, she made $1.45. Her boss earned double what she made, but did none of the work; taking advantage of a poor widow who was desperate. Now Aya uses her incredible skills as a seamstress to create beautiful textiles for us, and earns a dignified, fair wage. She dreams of one day opening her very own store!
Founder & CEO
Having lived in three different continents so far, Karla has grown to love cultures and people from across the globe. With a degree in Organizational Management from Colorado Christian University, Karla resides in Westminster, Colorado with her husband and three kids (two of whom are already grown up!). As a family, they love traveling around the world, but especially to the MineField Village where they spend each summer loving on children, serving, and helping with the development of this precious place.
Back Office Queen
Bev was born and raised in Minnesota. She has been married to her best friend, Bob, for 38 years. She’s the mother of two grown children and grandmother of identical twins. She credits the precious Lord for her many blessings! Always incredibly servant-hearted, Bev felt she was divinely led to Landmine Design in 2019. For the last several years, she has been invaluable to our team, working on the nitty gritty details of inventory control, order management, packaging and assisting our CEO, Karla with work in the Denver office. Recently she was promoted to Queen…well, of the back office…and she loves it!