A few years ago, Christian Schild found himself involved in support projects for patients affected by leprosy, through his Rotary Club, Jakarta Sentra. Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease that mainly affects the skin and peripheral nerves as well as the eyes and upper respiratory system but is curable if treated in the first stages of the infection. Approximately 2-3 million people world-wide need ongoing care, with 200,000-300,000 new cases showing up annually, mainly in India, Brazil, Nigeria and Indonesia.
Among those Christian had helped, was a man named Ali Sage, a former leper patient, who had started a prosthesis workshop in Sitanaia Village in Indonesia where he gets countless requests for help from underserved individuals who are in need of artificial limbs.
In July of 2015, Christian’s son Lucky, shared a video on his Facebook page that showed a child with a 3D printed hand. This video led him to this website, enablingthefuture.org, where he found numerous stories about others who had been helped by the e-NABLE Community of volunteers, design files and tutorials needed to create hands for those in need.
Ali introduced Christian to Nini, a young woman who had lost all of her fingers on her right hand due to an accident at a plastics factory. She was expecting a child in December of 2015 and Christian was determined to help find a way to make her a hand to aid her in the care of her newborn. His wife Trisweni Astuti accompanied him to the village to help translate and communicate with her and others in need of devices.
Christian shares, “Through my research, I found out that at the beginning of August, an Office Machine Exhibition was held here in Jakarta, including information about 3D printers. There were 5 companies promoting 3D printers and materials, so I spoke with some of them about this project.
It started with Heri Kristanto of PT Indoprint in Surabaya, who offered to make one hand. Shortly after this, I was called by Wadi Chan of 3D Solution here in Jakarta. Wadi has a 3D printing business and is very familiar with the technology and suggested we make a Raptor/Osprey hand.”
While they had access to a 3D printer, it took their team about 2 months to create a “helper hand” for Nini due to difficulties finding the materials and hardware needed to assemble it for her.
Ali and Christian were able to fit the 3D printed e-NABLE hand to her before her child was born, giving her the opportunity to practice and train with the new device before the arrival of her daughter in December.
Now Nini is able to hold her daughter safely while feeding her a bottle, carry her more easily and do so many of the tasks that many new mothers often wish they had an extra set of arms for!
Christian shares, “This will be a great help for many people who have lost their hands. 3D printing is still new here in Indonesia and not many companies are doing this kind of work. Together with Heri, Wadi, Ali and Trisweni, we hope to be able to extend the production of the hands into more regions in Indonesia in the future. Our aim is to promote and arrange seminars and training programs for more people to be able to make these 3D printed hands.”
Though the need for assistive devices is overwhelming in this region, this small team of five volunteers has made an incredible impact, simply by making one hand for one young mother. They not only helped to improve the life of Nini, but they have also helped to make life a little easier for her child.
Those around them who take notice of the way in which technology was used to make a difference, may very well be inspired to find a way to help improve the lives of others in their country and learn how to build and assemble devices for the many others who are eager to find a solution that is not currently available to them…and this may be their biggest gift of all.
“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” – Howard Zinn