25 Jan Recycling wartime exploded munitions
It’s hard to imagine what went on thirty years ago in the Kingdom of Cambodia, where people now go about their business planting rice, going to market, getting married and going to school like anybody else in South East Asia. Talk to anyone as young as 35, however, and it soon surfaces that memories are still fresh. Of fleeing homes, refugee camps, bombings and being conscripted to a murderous army to carry and lay mines.
Our artisans obtain metal for recycling from CMAC (Cambodia Mine Action Centre) demining officers and from fishermen who catch bullet casings in their nets.
In a tidy new housing development in South Phnom Penh, we find the foundry of Chantha Thoeun‘s family at the end of a quiet alley. Chantha learned the brass smithing trade at age 14 in the orphanage he was living in since his parents were killed by the Khmer Rouge. After coming of age and apprenticed by older tradesmen, he started work at a social enterprise in town, and then set up his own foundry. Read more about his story here.
Chenla Chan was also a refugee, and now supports his family by recycling bombshell scrap through orders from Emi &Eve. Chenla opens his home to the neighborhood children by way of impromptu day care centre, and on Sundays his home serves as the neighbourhood church. His jewellery making funds these community efforts. Read his story here.
Heang grew up in a war zone and saw family members killed. He was disillusioned with life but once he found a skill in brass smithing, he found new hope in recycling war time artillery shells into jewellery.
“I want to show the world that it is possible to make something beautiful out of these destructive things.” he says.
We are happy to be able to support artisans like Chantha, Chenla and Heang and at the same time make such a big statement with our jewellery. Our designs tell the story of metamorphosis into symbols of friendship, peace and beauty.
Every cloud has a silver lining. What courage have you gained from passing through the fire of tough times? A piece from our collection can serve as a symbol of strength. Do you have a friend or loved one who is going through difficulties? Gift them a bullet brass piece from our collection as a reminder that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Shop the collection here.
Watch Emi &Eve founder Cassandra accompanying a team of CMAC deminers in the Siem Reap area here.