During a casual holiday to The Gambia in 2011, I had no idea that the events that happened there would lead to the start of a new charity. Since that holiday, we have developed relationships with over 15 hospitals across the UK, received over 500 individually donated prosthetic legs, driven a van 3,723 miles from the UK to The Gambia, gave that van to a local church, and now procure other mobility equipment to help a wider range of people; we’ve done all this with only a handful of generous volunteers in their spare time!
Prior to that holiday in 2011 I was oblivious to the huge demand for prosthetic legs in the developing world and at the same time tremendous waste of prosthetics through the western world. We have identified the overwhelming waste within the UK, and seen first-hand through our efforts so far, the huge impact we can deliver by redirecting redundant prosthetic legs to our trusted partners in Africa where they are customised and fitted to their new owners.
When a prosthetic leg is fitted to an amputee in Africa, the effects are profound. With a properly fitted leg, an amputee can become an independent member of society again. Family members or careers are no longer required to support them; their wellbeing and chances for opportunity are much greater; and social stigmas are eliminated.
Legs4Africa has already supported over 600 amputees in Africa and we hope to have another 1000 legs sent out by the end of this year. We have also begun branching out into other mobility equipment such as wheel chairs and walking aids, so the result of our efforts should have a wider impact.
The future for Legs4Africa: Our goal is to continue collecting prosthetic legs and mobility equipment to supply our growing network of partners in Africa. The goal is that once there they can be fitted to their new recipient at no charge. As of right now, recipients are expected to pay for bandages and casting materials which do not exceed £10; however, often amputees cannot afford even. We would also like to send trained prosthetists from the UK to offer training to our partners in Africa.