Recently Legs4Africa received an email out of the blue from Beech Tree Care Home in Overton with a query for us. For them it was a tentative query but for us it was a familiar and welcome question. Would we be interested in a prosthetic leg which had been left with them from a previous resident? Of course we would.
Beech Tree Care Home Workers with the Donated Leg
In Africa thousands of lower limb amputees find themselves unable to afford the expense of a prosthetic leg and face a life of being ostracised by their community, unable to carry on working and supporting their family. Then there are the children and teenagers who had ambition to succeed at school and go on to jobs that would give them and their families the sort of livelihood they aspired to.
Whilst in the UK, 5,000 prosthetic legs a year become redundant for one reason or another and, because they can’t be reused here, they would all be destined to head off to a landfill site. Except that this is where Legs4Africa steps in because we do have a very good use for outgrown and no longer needed prosthetic legs. We retrieve the reusable parts and ship them out to selected mobility centres and hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa. These Centres have the expertise to reassemble the parts and make well fitting legs for the amputee as well as provide ongoing support to the patient.
Presently our focus is mainly in The Gambia and Ghana where we are also involved in helping to set up self governing community groups, amputee football teams and women’s groups but we also send parts to several other countries such as Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria.
The leg donation from Beech Care Home is an extremely welcome addition to our current consignment of legs which will help to make the life of an amputee in Africa so much easier and more hopeful such as the redoubtable Fatou N’jai:
“I sit in my shop. I laugh with people, I dance with people. But if I didn’t have a prosthetic I would still have people sat over me crying. I am happy with my life….Whenever I take my leg off the kids start playing with it, they think it’s a toy. Sometimes I tip it and find so many things stored in there, even coins”