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Recycling

Donated artificial limbs adapted to help children

Volunteer orthopedic specialists in a workshop in Lyon, France, also home to Humanity & Inclusion's global headquarters, are changing the lives of people around the world by reconditioning valuable prosthetic parts donated by people with amputations.

In countries with comprehensive health infrastructure, people who need an artificial body part – a prosthesis – will regularly receive a new one in order to meet their changing needs. In France, for example, an adult can replace their leg prosthesis every 5 years and children will receive many as they grow.

In contrast, in countries without the facilities, expertise or budgets to provide these services, hundreds of thousands of people do not have access to prostheses at all. ‘The Workshop’ began in 2006, as a way to avoid wasting valuable prosthetic parts that would be invaluable to others.

A small team of expert volunteers run The Workshop. Roger Faure is a retired orthopedic specialist who worked for Humanity & Inclusion for 20 years. He now donates his skills and expertise to turn used prosthetic parts into custom-built prosthesis for beneficiaries around the world.

“Many of the prostheses we receive are in great condition – undamaged, extremely high-quality – and all of the working mechanical parts can be saved. These parts are worth thousands of dollars and it is very satisfying to know that they will not go to waste!”

A reconditioned prosthesis can be life-changing for recipients like 6-year-old Elinah, who lives in Madagascar. Her lower leg was amputated following a car accident.

“Seeing her hop to get around and being left out made us feel terrible every single day,” her mother recalls of Elinah's time without an artificial leg. “We are so happy that she now has a prosthesis and will be able to play with her friends."

Without The Workshop, Elinah would almost certainly have faced a long wait to receive prosthesis, putting her childhood on hold. The work of Roger and his colleagues changes her present and her future.