The Charity Legs4Africa is asking for people to donate their old prosthetic legs, so they can be given a new life by amputees in the developing world.
Legs4Africa is a small UK charity dedicated to re-using old prosthetic limbs. It collects them from around Britain and then sends them to some of the poorer nations of Africa, where they can have a hugely positive impact on people’s lives.
Their first campaign, spring 2014, saw a van load of 500 legs driven over to The Gambia, where they are now being distributed and refitted to amputees in need. These first 500 legs where collected from healthcare organisations and charities, which had been stocking used prosthetics.
Now it is time for the next leg
Around 5000 legs are thrown away in the UK each year, and Legs4Africa want to get their hands on them. Their new campaign “Leg Donate”, is targeting individuals to give their old leg a new life. The first objective is to raise awareness within the amputee community, and spread the word that their redundant prosthetics can have liberating effects for Africans.
Without our leg donations a basic prosthetic leg in the Gambia costs about £350, and with the average yearly wage at around £250 the vast majority of amputees simply don’t have the cash, and a similar story echoes around the continent.
One of the Gambian limb recipients was Sheikh Jeng, a 20 year old trainee teacher who had both his legs amputated when he was 11.
In many traditional African societies, any disability is thought to be the result of divine retribution, meaning amputees are often rejected from society or thought of as cursed. The transformation that prosthetics can have on someone’s independence and confidence are life-changing.
Legs4Africa is determined to get legs to amputees across Africa, Sierra Leone is a hopeful next candidate for a big shipment, the awful civil war of the 1990s left over 20 000 amputees in the country, most of whom have no access to prosthetics. Legs4Africa could help change this within the year, all they need is the legs.
One recent donor, Nina Frost-Kincaid from Redruth, Cornwall, found 3 used lower-left prosthetics when she was clearing a local house, she managed to find Legs4Africa through Google and had the legs collected within a week. These along with other recently collected limbs are in storage in Leicester, awaiting the next shipment.
So, dear reader, here is your invitation to engage. There are thousands of unused legs, kicking around the country. If you have, or know anyone that might have one then get in touch, and give a leg-up to Africa.
The “Leg Donate” page on the Legs4Africa website now makes it even easier to donate old limbs, simply click on this link, fill in the form and the Legs4Africa team will do the rest.