Roadside village in Xieng Khuang, one of the most heavily bombed provinces. Laos is the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. Between 1964 and 1973, the US dropped 2 million tons of ordnance on Lao PDR, averaging one B-52 bomb load every 8 minutes, 24/7, for 9 years. At the current rate of removal, it will take an estimated 800 years to clear all unexploded ordnance. Each bracelet purchased clears from 3m2 of bomb littered land. ARTICLE 22 donated to clear 10,000m2 in 2011 and 20,000m2 in 2012
Cluster bombs cased in aluminum. The majority of UXO in Laos are cluster bombs the size of a fist or soup can. They often remain buried in the ground undetonated, killing more civilians than enemy soldiers, and prevent war torn countries from redeveloping UXO littered land.
Wood and ash molds in front of an earthen kiln. Today, villagers continue to take a constructive approach to the destruction of war by recovering their livelihoods through available local resources, creating molds from wood and ash, kilns from the earth, spoons and now bracelets from aluminum war scrap metal.
ARTICLE 22 works with artisans in Ban Naphia to develop design-forward products. Each year we spend up to three months in Laos working side by side with artisans to create new shapes and refine techniques.
Husband and wife metalsmith team. The approach is to cultivate sustainable economic development, protect culture by capacity-building upon preexisting skills and use local resources. Equally, men and women in each family are part of our story.
War machinery. Peacebomb metal is a mix of different types of aluminum scrap. Repurposed metal includes the stabilization fins of cluster bomb casings and rockets, flares, certain fuses and parts of fighter jets, and other. Local demand for this metal has existed since the 1970s, creating the strongly entrenched scrap metal supply chain that exists today.
Expert clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO) from farmland. To make scrap collection safer, we collaborate with expert demining organizations that also provide risk education to the local population.
s. Bouphan harvests her rice fields after it was cleared of UXO. One of the poorest countries in SE Asia, 80% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture. Bringing another meaning to farm to table, families eat most of what they harvest, leaving little left to sell.
Phet, son of the first villager to learn to repurpose bomb metal in 1975. We help support income generating activities and the creation of sustainable businesses so that the next generation can build upon the foundation set by their parents. ARTICLE 22 provides twelve artisan families with monthly income equivalent to the average monthly Lao government worker salary.
Weaver and daughter of the first Ban Naphia metalsmith in the village weaving center. With meager disposable income, handcrafts play a vital role in the livelihoods of families. ARTICLE 22 creates a revenue source for village artisans to invest in myriad local handcrafts like weaving.
The Rural Income through Sustainable Energy Project of Swiss NGO Helvetas helped the community implement sustainable energy. Benefits from the sale of the collection are shared across the community through donations to the Village Development Fund supported by Helvetas. A micro-credit fund provides small business and other loans to members as well as supports community infrastructure projects. ARTICLE 22 donates to the Village Development Fund 10% on top of product orders to benefit the entire community, from electricity in communal areas to micro-financing livestock investments.
The next generation studying. Money from a second fund will be allocated to an education fund, a priority for the village chiefs.
Arrival at the Xieng Khuang Provincial Airport. Our Make Bracelets, Not War banner greets eco-tourists. Over the years, our work has contributed to making the village one of the most exciting tourist attractions in the province. This allows villagers to generate income through the sale of other crafts.