Recycling prosthetic legs in France

Tom Williams / France, Mens Shed / Rotary

With simple ideas comes big potential.  Nav Solidaire, made up of 5 close friends from Normandy, France have seen first hand the huge waste of prosthetic legs in their country and have decided to do something about it. Luckily for them, Bristol is only 326 miles away (mostly over water and a bit of land) and the home of Legs4Africa where thousands of prosthetic legs are already being recycled each year. 

The group of friends that make up Nav Solidaire are excited about seeing the recycling initiative expand through France, where prosthetic legs no longer need to be buried in landfill but can be dismantled, serviced and go on to keep people walking in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Legs4Africa have already started recycling legs in Canada and Australia and have vouched to fund consignments of leg components from any limb fitting centre that decides to join the programme.  So all Nav Solidaire need to do is box the legs up and give Legs4Africa a call. 

“I’ve been amputated for a year and a half now. In France where the prostheses are renewed every five years, it surprised me that few people recycle them in our country. There seems to be a few associations that recycle but not for Africa. When we learned that Legs4africa was doing something similar in the United Kingdom, we knew we had to work together.”

Antoine Michel, Founder Nav Solidaire 

What makes Nav Solidaire unique is that they want to get the recycled components to limb fitting centres in Africa without spending any carbon. It’s an ambitious plan as all are experienced yachts men, they intend to sail the legs down to the West coast of sub-saharan countries where Legs4Africa have partnerships with limb centres. 

Antoine, Stéphanie, Boris, Guillaume and Thomas are all excited and passionate about the sea, travel and making a difference whilst setting an example that not all adventures have to be self fulfilling, but can have a massive impact on many people’s lives.

Meet Yusupha

Yusupha football training on the beach

“If I am accepted on to the tailoring course I hope it will mean I can start a business, maybe once I am up and running I can train other amputees too.”

” I really want to work because the way people treat you when you have a disability is sometimes unkind, especially when you don’t have work. I used to take care of compounds – looking after the garden and general maintenance. I will easily be able to do this again once I have my leg fitted”

Yusupha is responsible for providing for his wife, mother and two young children and gives himself a few hours of each weekend for football training on the beach.

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