The ongoing cooperation between Stonehaven & District Men’s Shed and the Rotary Club of Stonehaven continues to provide benefits to amputees in Africa through the auspices of now recognised charity, Legs for Africa (L4A). A considerable package of re-usable and recyclable engineered and metal parts, removed from landfill destined prosthetics, by the team, was consolidated in the shed for uplift by the L4A team last week. The headline picture, above, shows the handover of the consignment to L4A by the team from Rotary Club of Stonehaven and Stonehaven Men’s Shed on 21 September 2022. The picture shows L-R Doug Johnson, Douglas Knox (Rotary), Tom Williams (L4A Founder), Matt Thomson (L4A Fundraising Director and sometimes driver), Peter Cooper and Alistair Robertson.
The founder of the charity, Tom Williams, visited the shed on Wednesday 23 September 2022, as part of the uplift team, and was asked if he would say a few words to the shed members, he was very happy to do this.
Tom explained that back in 2010 he stayed with a family in The Gambia and saw, first hand, the emotional and physical distress that the family was suffering because the man of the house had suffered the loss of a leg. The kindness shown to him by the family during his stay made him determined to try and do something for the man. After speaking to a prosthetics engineer he took some measurements and returned to the UK where he sourced a discarded prosthetic leg and had a socket fitted to align with his basic measurements. He returned to The Gambia with the leg and handed it over to the family member where it was fitted with the assistance of local medical team. Tom was astounded by just how much this “simple” act turned the family’s life around and from that moment the germ of an idea, that became Legs for Africa, was born.
Tom found that prosthetics, once “used”, are discarded to landfill and, his words, “Legs4Africa was founded back in 2013 because I saw first-hand that change was needed to be made. There are an estimated 45,000 people in England who rely on prosthetic limbs. We are extremely fortunate to have the NHS and we will be forever grateful for their service but unfortunately, it’s not so easy to obtain prosthetics in The Gambia or Tanzania. Our work allows us to open up the conversation around limb loss and improve quality of life for so many people.”
The Vision of L4a is “Affordable rehabilitation for amputees across Africa” and this, coupled with the Mission statement, “To help amputees live independently, through the provision of prosthetic legs along with physical and emotional rehabilitation”.
Tom also fielded a number of questions from the Shed members present as well as expressing his appreciation to the Shed and the Rotary of the great work they are doing to further the vision and aims of the Legs for Africa charity and get Africa walking again.
The Rotary Club organises and controls the pick up of “discarded” prosthetics from hospitals all over Scotland and they are brought to Stonehaven Men’s Shed. At the Shed the prosthetics are dismantled with recoverable and reusable parts consolidated for later pick up by L4A.
Lives are being changed and improved in Sub Saharan Africa through this initiative of Rotary Stonehaven and the cooperation between them and your local Shed. The L4A link is worth a read.