GOMA ARTIFICIAL LIMB PROJECT
The Rotary Club of Balwyn’s Board has confirmed the Club’s funding contribution for the Jaipur Limb project in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo).
Like so many developing countries there are many people in DR Congo who suffer because of amputated or deformed limbs. The causes of this misery are many, but include birth defects, communicable diseases such as leprosy and polio, non-communicable diseases such as vascular disorders and diabetes, snake bites, traumatic injuries, natural disasters and armed conflict. With severe limitations as to what they can do, people disabled in this way become a burden to families, who already have very meagre resources, and are often condemned to spend their lives begging on the streets.
The Goma Jaipur Limb project arose from a visit to the Club in 2014 by Tammy Shepherd. Tammy is a local physiotherapist who, for some years, has spent a couple of weeks a year, at her own cost, as a volunteer at the Heal Africa hospital in Goma. She was responsible for setting up a physiotherapy unit there and was keen to also set up a prosthetics unit, with a small workshop that could modify and fit artificial legs which are not available at affordable cost in DR Congo.
Contact was made with Rotary Jaipur Limb (RJL), a UK based Rotary organisation now a charity. RJL is very experienced in this work using the Jaipur Limb—a basic, but robust and medically sound, prosthesis, fabricated from durable, high-quality plastic costing something like $50 each.
Above-knee and below-knee versions are available. The prostheses are manufactured in bulk at locations in India and Uganda, but a local workshop is needed to modify them to suit each individual patient, fit them to the patient and further modify and adjust as needed. Local nurses will undergo a ten-week training course to enable them to do this work.
The project has progressed slowly and the Goma Project Committee has devoted considerable effort over three years. Project funding is complex; the partners include Rotary Club of Balwyn, Rotary Club of Camberwell, Rotary Jaipur Limb, UK, Inner Wheel District 11, UK and Rotary Club of Goma-Nyiragongo, DR Congo. Efforts to secure funding via Global and District grants has been challenging but the committee is still hopeful of some success.
Implementation of the project will depend on security in the region and logistical considerations.
The Committee are to be congratulated for the extraordinary effort in progressing this project and addressing the complex legal and logistical hurdles.
- KEEPING GIRLS IN CLASS—ONE PAD AT A TIME
Sat 20th Oct
Girls living in poverty in Africa often miss up to a week of school every month once they reach puberty because of their menstrual period. The reason for their absence from school is multifactorial and includes lack of appropriate sanitary products and cultural beliefs associated with menstruation. This absence severely affects their education as schools are seldom responsive to the situation and offer little or no opportunity for the young women to catch up the work they miss. Global School Partners (GSP) ran a trial Young Women’s Program in 2017 in three schools and an orphanage and the program reduced absenteeism due to menstruation by an average of 88%; it increased understanding of menstruation as a natural part of a women’s life and increased the self confidence and wellbeing of the young women involved. GSP have partnered with Pad Heaven who manufacture the washable sanitary pads and have developed the education and training program and resources. Pad Heaven is a Kenyan solution developed by a Kenyan entrepreneur for Kenyan women. The Rotary Club of Balwyn has provided funds towards this valuable initiative.
- Sustainable Communities Cambodia-Fish Farm
Fri 15th Jun
The Rotary Club of Balwyn provided funds to de-silt an ancient water storage in the Varin area of Cambodia, to allow stocking with fish, thus making it a commercial sustainable project. The proposed arrangements were discussed with community leaders in a meeting that lasted over two hours. They understood and agreed with the concept, but were concerned that theft of fish by locals was likely. They proposed a regime of night-time security patrols to overcome this problem. The proceeds from the sale of fish will be used to both pay down the community loan and be invested in the community for the benefit of the community.