As the e-NABLE Community has continued to grow over the past year, the need for localized e-NABLE Chapters has become very apparent. When e-NABLE first began in July of 2013, there were but a few requests for hands and arms as the media started catching wind of this movement and e-NABLE Volunteers were able to help connect recipients to makers through what became known as “The e-NABLE Matchers.”
One of these e-NABLE Matchers, was Thierry Oquidam from France, an IT Director in communication agencies for over 25 years, who stumbled upon enablingthefuture.org in June of 2014.
He writes, “I was looking for a good reason to buy a Reprap Prusa I3 3D printer…something a little better than printing a Yoda head or smartphone shell with a unicorn on it…which I obviously also do! The e-NABLE Community was the trigger I was looking for.“
Thierry started volunteering to help as the e-NABLE Matcher for all of Europe and soon found himself delivering the first 3D printed e-NABLE hand in France to a young fellow named Maxence. After an influx of media stories surrounding this event, Europe really started to take notice and inquiries started pouring in for help in these areas.
With a larger amount of requests for 3D printed e-NABLE devices than volunteers in the area, Thierry decided to take things into his own hands. In November of 2015, the e-NABLE France Chapter was born as an official Loi De 1901 Non-Profit with the hopes of helping to serve the needs of those seeking devices in France. Their website was created to be multilingual but it is currently only available in French – which helps them serve some of the French speaking areas such as Belgium, Switzerland, Morocco and Canada. Thierry and the e-NABLE France volunteers are hoping to encourage more European makers to join and help connect directly to recipients in need, in their own local communities.
Thierry shares, “I have made and delivered 7 devices. The e-NABLE France chapter volunteers have delivered 9 devices so far with 15 currently in process of being made for recipients who are in need of a 3D printed hand or arm with a forecast for 60 by the end of 2016.”
Considering the amount of devices to be built every year, and taking into account the fact that each year we will have newcomers, plus all of the previous devices to rebuild…we need to grow a huge makers/ e-NABLE Volunteers base fast. Faster than our current growth.”
One lead we are following is based on a great idea from one of our founders. Since our most involved members are the recipients, instead of giving them fish (devices) – encourage them to get a 3D printer or provide one for their school and teach them how to fish (3D print their own.) Then the families will have the motivation and skills to build these devices for their own children and hopefully some of them will give back and pay it forward and make hands for others in their own communities. By doing this, we could potentially reach our target and create the kind of makers we need. We are looking for funding to start a pilot program based on this idea,” shares Thierry.
Along with matching European e-NABLE Volunteers to recipient families for 3D printed hands, e-NABLE France has also been focusing on doing workshops at schools and events to help to teach our future makers how to use their designs and ideas to make a positive change in the lives of others.
In May, e-NABLE France volunteers put on a workshop with the Middle School Student Council at the International School of Brussels where they were challenged to assemble 20 3D printed e-NABLE hands for children in need in Belgium and France. Three young children with limb differences joined them, along with their parents, to participate in the workshop. Students and families worked together with the volunteers and the families were able to help create their own devices to take home.
Thanks to Thierry and the entire e-NABLE France Chapter, Europe is being gifted “a helping hand” through the incredible e-NABLE Volunteers who are working so hard to make these devices come to life for children and adults in need but who are also striving to help find funding sources that will allow them to donate 3D printers directly to the families or schools that serve these families – so that they can create their own devices (with the aid and instruction from local volunteers) and turn them into makers and e-NABLE volunteers in their local communities.
If you are interested in helping fund the e-NABLE France chapter, please consider making a donation via their donations page or making in-kind donations by providing 3D printers and filament that they can gift to families or schools of these families. With 3D printer donations, they can use this technology to reach even further into their own communities, encourage future makers to learn about 3D printing and to potentially make a huge impact on the lives of the upper limb different communities in Europe.
• To donate financially – please visit their donations page.
• To sign up as a maker or to join the e-NABLE France Chapter – please visit their website and click on “Registration.”
• For more information on how to start your own chapter or to get your chapter verified and shared on the new e-NABLE Community Chapters map – please visit the Chapters page and fill out the intake form!
Thank you for helping us to “Enable The Future” and for your continued support of our growing e-NABLE Community!