In the mountains of Laos, South East Asia, artisan families make these simple yet beautiful bangles from aluminium salvaged from deactivated UXO (unexploded ordnance) dropped on their province during ‘the secret war’, which took place between 1964 and 1973. Whilst fighting the Vietnam war, the United States of America carpet bombed the small neighbouring country of Laos.
On average, nine tonnes of cluster bombs were dropped every eight minutes for nine years, earning Laos the unenviable title of ‘most bombed country per capita in the world.’ Of these 270 million cluster bombs which rained down, approximately 80 million failed to detonate, leaving behind a deadly legacy.
To this day the people of Laos are unable to farm vast swathes of land for fear of UXO, locking the country in poverty. ‘Bomb harvesting’ has killed and maimed many people in Laos as they are tempted to weigh-in the valuable scrap metal. The charities which this project aims to help, enable them to cheaply purchase responsibly deactivated UXO from approved scrap yards.
Bombangles® are fairly traded with each bangle being purchased at five times the local market value.