A photography project documenting the lives of women who work in Laos to clear unexploded bombs dropped during the Vietnam War.
Project Photo: MAG Lao
From 1964 to 1973, the United States flew more than half a million bombing missions over the small Southeast Asian country of Laos, dropping more than 2 million tons of explosive ordnance. This was more bombs than were dropped in Europe during WWII. These missions were an attempt to block the flow of Vietnamese arms and troops through Laotian territory. However, it is estimated that 30% of these ordnance did not explode on impact and have remained where they fell to this day.
Presently, UXO (unexploded ordnance) and cluster bombs continue to mame and kill local villagers and children while working on their farms, attending school, or simply playing on their land. Since 1964, more than 50,000 people have been killed or injured from these UXO. The Lao government has shown that UXO contamination still affects 25% of the villages in the country and remains a prominent cause of poverty as it prevents individuals from using the land for agriculture.
Several teams work to safely locate, identify, and destroy UXO that litter the country so that more villagers may have access to the land and a better chance at establishing a functioning crop. This task is considered extremely dangerous and each member that works to dismantle these UXO put their own life on the line every day. One group in particular consists solely of women, some of whom have had family members killed or seriously injured from UXO.
photo: Sean Sutton/MAG
My goal is to document this group of women in the field by taking photographs and conducting interviews over the course of three weeks. I want to show the true courage and bravery of these women who have seen the consequences of their chosen profession, yet chose to do it anyway. After I have completed this project I will have an exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand to showcase the final product of photographs and interviews. I will also be creating a photography book with the images and interviews I collect. A portion of the proceeds will go to the group to fund further excavation of UXO and cluster bombs in Laos.
photo: Sean Sutton/MAG
At the current rate, it is believed that it could take up to 100 years to clear Laos of all UXO and explosive ordnance. During this time, hundreds or even thousands of lives could be lost. That is why I believe it is extremely important that the world be educated about this issue so that Laos can be clear of all UXO and the people can once again live in peace.
The funds I receive will go toward the following:
Airfare, ground transportation, journalist visas, press pass registration fee, daily journalist fee, press department member to accompany me(required by the Lao government), food, and lodging.
Below are a few images from Laos that donors will receive:
Luang Prabang, 2009
Khoung Si, 2010
Nong Kiau, 2011
Mekong River, 2010
Thank you so much for your support and generosity!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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A hand written thank you noteEstimated delivery:
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A hand written thank you note on the back of a postcard from Laos and your name on the donor's list.Estimated delivery:
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A hand written thank you note on the back of a 4x6 image of Laos.Estimated delivery:
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An 11x14 image taken from Laos, a postcard from Laos, and your name on the donor's list.Estimated delivery:
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A signed 11x14 image taken from Laos, your name on the donor's list, a postcard from Laos, and a signed copy of the book.Estimated delivery:
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A signed 11x17 image taken from Laos, a signed copy of the book, a postcard from Laos, your name on the donor's list.Estimated delivery:
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All of the above plus a photograph of the team signed by the women themselves.Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)