Cambodia’s rural areas are littered with evidence of war. Nearly 2 million landmines and unexploded ordnances have been found and destroyed by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) between its establishment in 1992 and 2009. The country still has one of the highest casualty and amputee rates in the world, causing people suffering long after armed conflicts and difficulty carrying on with daily life.
For Pamela Yeo, Ng Sook Zhen, and Adeline Heng, it was an opportunity to create a social business out of landmines.
Based in Singapore, Saught began a few months ago as a pilot project in Cambodia where safely neutralized scrap metal sourced from demining organization CMAC is used to make jewelry and sold online. The business uses a co-creation model that adopts the design of artists, designers, and students, and employs artisans from partner NGOs – Rajana Association and Fileo Development Organisation – to handcraft the jewelry. Profit from the sales are reinvested into the company to grow and create more employment opportunities for disadvantaged individuals in post-conflict countries.
The idea for Saught was inspired by locals living in post-conflict countries. The three founders had previously studied and worked in Southeast Asia where they saw first-hand the ingenuity and desperation of local residents in using scrap metals for household goods.
For the company, turning war remnants into jewelry is a symbol of transforming the bad to the good. Their products are organized under three collections – Freedom from War, Freedom from Poverty, and Freedom from Fear. Each is dedicated to represent a specific issue in countries recovering from conflict.
“Communities in post-conflict countries carry a raw sense of hope, and a new freedom,” explains Yeo. “Our hope is that the international community develops a personal stake in the redevelopment of post-conflict countries and the process to rebuild peace.”
Photo from Saught.
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