ES P O I R Yoony Byun: Cambodia
About two years ago, Yoony Byun watched a documentary on Cambodia’s
young landmine victims. “I was shocked to learn that so many children
were still losing limbs from unexploded mines left over from a war in
the 1970s,” says Byun, a product design student at Art Center College
of Design in Pasadena, California. In an industrialized country, child
amputees would be refitted for a prosthetic device every six to 12 months
to accommodate growth. In Cambodia, these children count themselves
fortunate to have a single prosthetic patched together from recycled
Espoir is a user-adjustable prosthetic that child landmine victims
can use throughout their youth—vital in a country where students
regularly walk three to six miles a day to attend school.
The project begins with a marketing campaign inviting consumers to
return their used athletic shoes to manufacturers. Shoe materials are then
repurposed for the prosthesis, with uppers forming the socket support,
and soles refashioned into two interchangeable foot options: one suitable
for work in rice paddies, and a second for walking on dirt roads.
Espoir recycles old
shoes to help create
a new prosthetic leg.
Courtesy Yoony Byun