We put a shrimp on the barbie and had a chat to Callum, our Aussie friend who is heading up the expansion of Legs4Africa into Melbourne.
Callum, tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m from Melbourne, Australia. I am a filmmaker and social worker; I work with vulnerable young people and young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and teach them film-making skills and industry skills and get them ready not just for film-making but for life, making sure their CVs and resumes are good and getting them job-ready.
How did you first hear about Legs4Africa?
I first heard about Legs4Africa through a friend of mine, and I’ve been following you on Facebook for a few years now. When I came to Bristol last year I thought, ‘Why don’t we just expand Legs4Africa from Bristol to Melbourne?’ There are other legs in the world, so why not expand to Australia?
Why do you want to get involved with Legs4Africa?
For me, the biggest reason I’m getting involved is that it’s a charity that makes sense. It hits two really important things that mean a lot to me: humanitarian reasons and environmental reasons. In terms of trying to get people involved it’s a pretty easy pitch! We’re trying to save the environment and improve the quality of people’s lives.
So after speaking to the team I thought it was a pretty simple next step to bring it to Australia, because it’s an amazing charity, it makes sense, and it’s simplistic in its process: you get the legs, you dismantle the legs, you send them off. When I go to hospitals to talk about it they are astounded as they didn’t have a solution for these legs that are piling up. It feels so wrong putting them into landfill. And the impact is so obvious, you know where the leg is going, it just goes from Point A to Point B to Point C!
“How great would it be to have a BBQ, get your mates together and do some dismantling?”
So what’s the plan for Legs4Africa’s Oz division?
The idea is cloning what you guys do here: receiving legs from other Australians (and potentially New Zealand as it’s within close proximity), dismantling them in Melbourne, and then sending them off to teams in Africa.
Australia and New Zealand has a great base of people who are environmentally-conscious. Do you think it will spread well once people find out about the opportunity to get involved?
Yes, I think especially with the dismantling part, it’s very Australian! I think it’s that hands-on experience of volunteering, that it’s right there in front of you – this leg I’m dismantling will be helping someone less fortunate. It really aligns with Australian values, that camaraderie, the idea of getting together. How great would it be to have a BBQ, get your mates together and do some dismantling?
What people seem to really like about us is the personal element; that every step along the way is about people getting together and helping each other out, whether it’s the dismantling of the legs, getting in touch with the centres, or taking legs to Africa, it’s all about people interacting with people.
Yes, and it’s such a unique charity in that sense. I’ve worked for a few charities before and I think it’s the most exciting charity, people are so excited about it. Instead of handing out pamphlets or fundraising it’s a different level of involvement for a community. When I first started telling people about it they said ‘That is bizarre! What a crazy, wonderful thing to be doing!’
Or, as my dad said, ‘That’s a ripper idea!’
Thank you, Callum, for coming to visit and helping us recycle more legs and reach even more amputees across Africa. Watch this space for more news of our exciting expansion!