Young Heang, just  three or four months of age, did not enjoy the fun of babyhood that is the ‘norm for many little ones, the world over. He lived in a refugee camp, together with his parents, in order to escape war torn Cambodia, in the years captured, movingly, in ‘The Killing Fields’.

That was in 1980. Today, in one of life’s extraordinary ironies, Heang works with bombshells from the war, turning them into ‘peace jewellery’. There is no shortage of this raw material in Cambodia, with its tragic legacy of shells littering the landscape and, where unexploded, still claiming lives.

Heang works as a metalsmith for Rajana Crafts, a Fair Trade group that teaches its people valuable skills and then employs them, ensuring a fair return on their work. He cuts, solders and polishes the once deadly metal into necklaces. Some symbolise peace, shaped into the classic ‘Peace sign’, made famous during the Vietnam war, or the ‘dove of peace’.  Some are turned into butterflies or the ‘Tree of Life’: reminders of a new start after their tragic past. Others feature the metal in its original form, shaped into small bells: its raw surface a poignant reminder of the shells’ first, deadly purpose.

Young Heang makes jewellery from discarded bombshells with Rajana Crafts, Cambodia.

Young Heang makes jewellery from discarded bombshells with Rajana Crafts, Cambodia.

As well  as producing a powerful message,  Heang’s superb jewellery also gives him a ‘fair’ income, consistent with Rajana’s Fair Trade ethos, as he receives a salary he has never known before.  Heang’s father drove a taxi and his mother sold vegetables to support their family. Now, Heang has enough to meet the needs of his own wife and children, and to finance his BA studies.

The ancient words, ‘swords into ploughshares’, have seen life come full circle for this child of war.

Watch Heang’s story: http://www.rajanacrafts.org/news/story.php?id=6

 


Warning: Illegal string offset 'sizes' in /var/strattic/site/public_html/wp-content/themes/crossroads/content.php on line 87

Warning: Illegal string offset 'large' in /var/strattic/site/public_html/wp-content/themes/crossroads/content.php on line 87
Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Shop Now!

Browse Global Handicrafts’ full online range here or visit our shop at Crossroads Village to walk through our colourful global marketplace, with even more handmade delights from around the world, all of which care for the people who made them.

SHOP

HELPING LIGHT THE DARKNESS

The BBC calls if ‘the worst refugee camp on earth’. A camp on the far-flung island of Lesvos, Greece, seen by...

read more ...

7,000 brand new toys for Christmas

The quantity was astonishing: 7,000 brand new toys, donated through our Global Hand service by a leading toy manufacturer. NGOs across...

read more ...

Excelsior Hotel close equips HK social enterprise

It was the end of an era when Hong Kong’s beloved Excelsior shut down in early 2019. As their doors closed,...

read more ...

Helping equip Ukrainian maternity facility

"Finally, the repair of our maternity hospital is finished," wrote our colleagues in the Ukraine. "Your beds are in refurbished rooms...

read more ...

TintsabaWhen Elsabet joined the Tintsaba workshop in Swaziland, it changed her life. “If I couldn’t work for Tintsaba, I think I would die,” she says.

Elsabet, aged 44, is a single woman living in a society where having no husband can leave a woman vulnerable and poor. Her single status means a lot less than it once did, though. Since she joined Tintsaba, Elsabet has risen through the ranks to become a silver smith, and a motivational trainer for new recruits!

The job has given her a dignity and independence that can’t be quantified. Elsabet’s co-worker Khetsiwe agrees. Without this job, Khetsiwe’s children wouldn’t be going to school. “We would just sit and do nothing,” she said.

Elsabet and Khetsiwe are just two of the skilled artisans working with Tintsaba, who have elevated the traditional craft of weaving sisal grass into an art form. They create jewelery from sisal, a common plant in Swaziland, and their jewelery routinely wins design awards.

You can buy the beautiful red pendant necklaces created by the women of Tintsaba in Global Handicrafts’ online shop, with more Tintsaba products available in-store!


Warning: Illegal string offset 'sizes' in /var/strattic/site/public_html/wp-content/themes/crossroads/content.php on line 87

Warning: Illegal string offset 'large' in /var/strattic/site/public_html/wp-content/themes/crossroads/content.php on line 87
Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

HELPING LIGHT THE DARKNESS

The BBC calls if ‘the worst refugee camp on earth’. A camp on the far-flung island of Lesvos, Greece, seen by...

read more ...

7,000 brand new toys for Christmas

The quantity was astonishing: 7,000 brand new toys, donated through our Global Hand service by a leading toy manufacturer. NGOs across...

read more ...

Excelsior Hotel close equips HK social enterprise

It was the end of an era when Hong Kong’s beloved Excelsior shut down in early 2019. As their doors closed,...

read more ...

Helping equip Ukrainian maternity facility

"Finally, the repair of our maternity hospital is finished," wrote our colleagues in the Ukraine. "Your beds are in refurbished rooms...

read more ...