I had a very good English teacher in High School. His name was Mr Mandaza. When I first met him I didn’t know how he could function ‘normally’ because Mr Mandaza did not have both hands. That question was answered almost immediately when I saw him unbutton his shirt pocket, take out a pen and write names down in the class register.
I soon discovered Mr Mandaza did not need anyone’s pity. There is really nothing that anyone can do and Mr Mandaza can’t do. In most cases he does better. He had the best handwriting of all the teachers in the school, he was the cricket coach, he caned the hardest of all the teachers, he was the art teacher who painted like a Picasso. Ask anyone who has met the man.
However, not everyone who has lost limbs is as fortunate as my English teacher to be able to master all these skills with the limb missing and become excellent at fine motor skills like painting. Prosthetic limbs can go a long way to help someone without a limb to function independently and productively.
Historically though, these assistive devices are expensive and beyond the reach of the average person in the third world. Advancement in technology is changing this story though. One such technology that holds a lot of potential is 3D printing.
A Zimbabwean automation company is printing hands
Nashua Zimbabwe is a business automation company that supplies and services office equipment among other services. In my interaction with them they have proven to be more than that. They are a business that cares, always looking for opportunities to make a real difference in innovative ways.
Now, they are running a trial to print prosthetic hands for people that need them. I like how they think: they supply all kinds of equipment including 3D printers and so they decided to put some of what they supply to practical use themselves.
Nashua Zimbabwe doesn’t have to do this. They are doing this because they want to. They want to be an example of what caring looks like. They are using what they have access to.
Laura Kelly, Nashua’s Marketing Manager says:
Nashua aims to maintain its standing as the most innovative automation company and with projects such as this, we are yet again proving ourselves in trying.
While still a trial and in the early stages, once we have navigated our way around the ‘how to’s” I see this project being hugely beneficial to many across the Nation and am excited for that. I’m excited to get out there and help people in a life changing manner using printing!
Nashua has identified two candidates including Caps United FC Defensive Midfielder, Hardlife Zvirekwi (pictured above). Hardlife had his hand amputated after a road accident in March last year.
Nashua is looking for someone to work on this project
Nashua Zimbabwe is looking for someone to work on this project navigating the 3D printing process. The ideal person is a recent university graduate who has a design background. Of course if one has used a 3D printer before and can run Blender or other 3D printing programmes this would boost their chances of working with Nashua on this noble initiative.
The number one requirement though is that this person should really care about helping people. Yes it’s cool if you love tech and playing with such stuff but this is a role for someone who cares about the issues above just being a geek.
This is not a full time employment opportunity but a per project basis engagement. If you are the ideal person for this follow this link and submit your CV to Nashua.
I am excited about this experiment and I am grateful to Nashua Zimbabwe for doing these little things to make a difference. If more of us would do such things, Zimbabwe would not be such a bad place would it?