e-NABLE is a global community of over 1500 members collaborating to make free 3d-printed prosthetic hands available to all who need them. Many of these hands go to children, who face difficulties with traditional prosthetics, due to the fact that they are constantly outgrowing them.
“Veronica is from a village called Kagoma Gate, Uganda’s poorest village located on the outskirts of a sugar cane plantation, the villagers are cane cutters one of the worst jobs on earth and these are the poorest of the poor,” shares Mark Bertrand, Founder and executive director of The Giving Circle.
“The Ugandan Government asked us to enter the village 5 years ago… it was mind-numbing. Today we have built the village’s first school, playground, improved water system, sanitation through the first 2 pit latrines, a clinic, a kitchen building that is feeding the children 2 xs a day, improving animal raising and more.”
Mark goes on to share, “Veronica at 6 months old, while on her sleeping mat on the ground, had a spark from the oil lamp catch the mat on fire and the result was burns over much of her body and loss of one arm. She is now 7 years old.”
With her family unable to care for her, the Giving Circle team took Veronica into their home a few years ago. “Veronica is now one of our “daughters” at our Koi Koi House ( an Orphanage),” says Mark
Alyx Gleason, e-NABLE Volunteer and fabricator with our e-NABLE Siena chapter writes, “Dr. Manny Cirenza, who graduated from Siena, emailed me after seeing the Siena alumni magazine with the story on Jack Carder (who we gave an Iron Man themed hand to in 2015 in Ohio). He said that he was involved with The Giving Circle and had worked with Veronica and wanted to know if we would be able to help her. Miranda Marnes (Vice President of e-NABLE Siena) and I met with him and the founder of the Giving Circle, Mark Bertrand, in Saratoga this past summer to learn more about the work they do in Uganda and Veronica’s story. We told them how to take measurements because they were doing a big mission trip to Uganda later that summer. We sent them a video that Enabling the Future made available on YouTube to show them how to take measurements, as well as asked them to take photos.”
“Not only did we have Mark and Manny take pictures of Veronica,” said Alyx, “but we also had them take the measurements themselves (circumference of her tricep and the length from her elbow to the end of her arm). We also made 3 different sized prosthetic arms for Mark and Manny to take with them because we knew that she will grow and since they only travel there 2-3 times a year, we wanted to make sure she would have a prosthetic that was a perfect fit.”