Amputee Support Groups in Africa
The WHO estimate that 80% of the 600 million people living with disabilities globally are living in developing countries. Within this, it’s further estimated that 0.5% of a country’s population are amputees; so across Africa there could be as many as 6.5 million amputees.
To tackle the marginalisation, trauma and disempowerment that amputees face, we feel that the facilitation of a peer led amputee support will be an opportunity for amputees to develop self-confidence through shared experience which will enable them to deal with the many challenges they face in an empowered and determined way.
In 2016 Legs4Africa set up an amputee support group in The Gambia having realized that there was not any emotional rehabilitation for amputees available throughout the country. The response to setting up the group exceeded expectations as members meet monthly with new friends, to provide each other with peer support, receive motivational talks and referral guidance for work, domestic issues, mental health and even sport. Feedback has emphasised to us the benefits that support groups can bring in acting as platforms for capacity building pathways as well as being a base from which the collective strength of amputees can be recognised, and that this collective strength can be channelled to promote positive changes for amputees within wider society.
The Gambian Amputee Association was formed with the help from Legs4Africa in 2016 and we haven’t looked back. I was privileged to be selected as the President of the committee and this has made me extremely proud, and I’ve become even more sensitive and diligent about how I can personally support fellow amputees. Musa Kandeh - The G.A.A President
With everything that we’ve learnt so far we’ll be setting up a support group in Ghana, and by empowering a few people in the community and providing them with guidance and the resources to lead social and effective meetings, we expect the support groups to provide a much needed facility for amputees to come together to help each other.
Our vision is to see member led amputee support groups springing up all over Africa through a network we’re already accustomed with. Coupled with a resource toolkit and ongoing support for community facilitators, we envisage taking emotional rehabilitation for amputees living in Africa to the next next level.