Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Help Handicapped International- India, A Success Story


The loss of a foot or limb due to landmine explosions or any disease is a major tragedy for any human being and to come to terms with this loss of a part of the body is not only a very traumatic experience but also fraught with dire economic consequences.

A financially independent person suddenly realizes that he or she is totally at the mercy of relatives and friends and unable to indulge in any income generating activity. Prospects of poverty loom large over the horizon and this mental anguish coupled with the physical injury can wreck many a life.

Rehabilitation of such individuals is of prime importance and it is here that Help Handicapped International (HHI) plays a pivotal role especially in conflict areas where the number of landmine amputees is large.

HHI is a registered charity working for the welfare of the physically handicapped and an NGO in special consultative status with ECOSOC.

HHI specializes in fitting the Jaipur Foot prosthetic-an artificial limb developed in India and the most preferred in Asia and Africa because of the following factors:
(i) It is light in weight
(ii) It is fast and easy to fabricate. Since its manufacturing takes only a few hours the patient who comes to the centre in the morning can walk out on his own artificial limb by evening.
(iii) It is very cost effective.
(iv) It facilitates cycling, walking bare foot and squatting-all tasks essential to lead a near normal life in these continents.

Post fitment the patient undergoes physiotherapy sessions to become accustomed to the artificial limb. He or she is also explained about some simple exercises that could be carried out at home as well as some tips on the proper use and maintenance of the prosthetic.

HHI has been organizing camps for fitting of Jaipur Foot prosthetics to landmine and other amputees in Afghanistan, Sudan, Burundi and Kenya. The last three countries now have a permanent centre for this activity and thousands of handicapped have availed of the facilities. Two camps have been organized at Kabul in Afghanistan where over 1000 amputees have been rehabilitated.
In association with other organizations HHI has also undertaken similar activities in the Dominican Republic and Honduras.
HHI is also helping its associate trust-Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust-to organize Mobility Camps for the handicapped at several locations in India. These camps offer free fitting of Jaipur Foot to amputees, Callipers to polio affected children as well as free distribution of Tricycles, Wheelchairs and Crutches. Over 50,000 handicapped have benefitted from these camps during the last three years.

HHI’s success story is unique because at first glance its activities might seem to be not even distantly connected with the theme of the Annual Ministerial Review of 2007 which is Strengthening efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger, including through the global partnership for development.

However, it must be emphasized that hunger and poverty can be temporarily eradicated by handing out a dole. However, any sustainable and effective eradication program necessitates creation of an income generating avenue for the beneficiary and this is what HHI is trying to do by rehabilitating the handicapped and making them physically able to continue with their profession. It is an indirect route to attaining the desired goal but nevertheless permanent in nature as well more dignified and socially acceptable.

In fact HHI has gone a step further by co-ordinating the fabrication of special purpose vending machines based on the tricycle-a three wheeler cycle very popular in Asia. An amputee can use this custom built cycle as a mobile vendor of day to day necessities and thus become economically independent in spite of his handicap.
Unfortunately the number of landmine amputees in the conflict areas of the world is so huge that to rehabilitate all of them is a daunting task calling for time, efforts and above all resources.

Help Handicapped International is fully committed to the cause and realizes that its success story would not have a happy ending till a majority of our unfortunate physically challenged brethren are put on the road to economic salvation.

Let us all double and redouble our efforts in this direction.

Please contact us at:


Visit us at http://www.hhiindia.org/

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