There are so many nonprofits doing good work on behalf of amputees that it seems impossible to keep track of them all. But we’re going to try anyway. Every week we’ll highlight one organization or person that’s out there trying to make life better for amputees. This week’s Worthy Cause: The Victoria Hand Project.
Name: Victoria Hand Project
Founder: Nick Dechev designed the TBM hand back in 2001 as a graduate student in Toronto. With the rise of 3D-printed prosthetics in the 2010s, Dechev (now an engineering professor at the University of Victoria) updated the design and established the VHP. With major funding from Google and Grand Challenges Canada, the project began providing free prosthetic devices to amputees in developing nations. In addition, the Project cultivates local capacity by training health care providers in the target communities, and by setting up onsite 3D-printing centers and teaching local residents to operate it.
What they do: Provide free upper-limb prostheses that help amputees in developing countries live independently.
Who they serve: Amputees and communities in Guatemala, Haiti, Ecuador, Nepal, Cambodia, Egypt, Uganda, and Kenya.
In Dechev’s own words: “I didn’t think 3D printing was ready for this type of technology. I was surprised by how strong [the prosthetic] was. The machinery of 3D printers is well developed and phenomenally low cost. It’s time for major advances in the materials used for 3D printing to improve strength, durability, and other properties. . . . . As a design engineer, I enjoy cross-mixing technologies to create new possibilities. Technologies all build upon each other, like a set of interlinked pieces. Connecting these together, and sometimes creating new technology from scratch, is exciting and drives my work and research.”
Get involved: The Victoria Hand Project relies almost entirely on volunteers for everything from fundraising to helping out in the design lab, conducting outreach, and establishing partner relationships. Here’s how to get involved.
Make a donation: https://www.victoriahandproject.com/donate
Connect with the Victorian Hand Project: On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Other Worthy Causes:
Heather Abbott Foundation
LN4 Hand Project
Abled Amputees Foundation
Range of Motion Project
Right to Walk Foundation
Steps of Faith Foundation
Born to Run Foundation
Move for Jenn Foundation
Jordan Thomas Foundation
Less Leg More Heart
Looking for the Helpers (July/August 2020 issue of Amplitude)