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The civil war in Sri Lanka has left several people wounded and maimed. It takes a lot of effort to get these people back on their feet to help them lead a productive life. While various rehabilitation activities are being undertaken across the country, Rotarians are also reaching out to help them become mobile and independent, with the help of artificial limbs and other mobility aids.
The International Jaipur Foot Prosthetic Limb project, a joint effort of Mumbai and Sri Lankan Rotary clubs have benefitted several people since 2012. The clubs collaborate with the Colombo Friend-in-Need Society (CFINS), a 183-year organisation that develops and fits artificial limbs and other appliances for the physically-challenged. This year too, in November, six Rotary clubs of RI District 3140 — Bombay Airport, Bombay Seacoast, Mumbai Versova, Mumbai Nariman Point, Bombay Bandra and Mumbai Juhu — along with RC Capital City, District 3220, Sri Lanka collaborated with CFINS to provide 1,000 such limbs (up-scaled from 300 until the last two years) for the afflicted people in Sri Lanka.
The light weight, low cost and quick to produce “Bombay Limb,” as they are fondly called, made all the beneficiaries comfortable.
Rtn Kevin Colaco, President of RC Bombay Airport (RCBA) said, “Initially the prosthetics made in Colombo were crude, so we took technicians from India to train CFINS volunteers. Now with upgraded technology and training, they produce fine quality limbs. The necessary material is shipped from India and the manufacturing is done in Colombo.” The total cost of the project Rs 12 lakh, was contributed by Rotarians from the six participating Mumbai clubs. “We are planning to include many more clubs from our district as this will increase the contributions and also volunteer support,” he added.
CFINS volunteers travelled to remote areas of Sri Lanka and got the measurements of needy people. Initially, manufacturing of plastic sockets was more tedious and impractical, but the availability of Bombay components has now made it easy. Colaco says that the light weight, low cost and quick to produce “Bombay Limb,” as they are fondly called, made all the beneficiaries comfortable. They thanked Rotary for returning to them their sense of hope, self-esteem and a dignified life.
The Rotarians of RCBA and RC Capital City also visited the government school, Pagnagula Maha Vidyalaya School, on a hill top at Thummodera. This school has 68 students in classes 1 to 10, and serves the underprivileged children in that area. The RCBA Rotarians contributed Rs 75,000 for repairing the water tank here and arrangements were made to pump water from a nearby well; E-learning kits in English were also donated to the school. Literacy programmes were planned for the future.
The artificial limb project was attended by the High Commissioner of India Y K Sinha. District Governor Gowri Rajan, RI District 3220 thanked Rotarians from India and partner club President Rtn Shirani Ekanayake distributed the Bombay limbs to the beneficiaries. Colaco presented a solar cooker to Rtn Shirani Ekanayake for experimental purpose. He said that plans are on to donate around 300 solar cookers for the needy in Jaffna under a matching grant project.