Camden Rotary makes prosthetic arms for landmine victims

Camden Rotary is always there when someone needs a helping hand – literally.

On Saturday, 42 people associated with Rotary got together at Camden Golf Club to assemble prosthetic hands.

The limbs will be delivered to victims of landmines in Asia, including countries like Cambodia and Sri Lanka.

Unexploded landmines – remnants of the Vietnam War – are a huge problem in south-east Asian countries, with thousands of people falling victim, and often using limbs, to the unseen bombs every year.

Aaron Hodge, director of Rotary services, said he was shocked when he learnt how devastating unexploded landmines still were.

“It’s a much bigger problem than I ever realised,” he said.

“It’s shocking to think about how many landmines there still are in the world – there are thousands of acres of land filled with them.”

Camden Rotary members selected to make the assembly and delivery of prosthetic limbs their major project for this year.

The program which sends the relatively cheap, yet effective, hands to south-east Asian countries was developed by a South Australian Rotary club.

Camden Rotary president Dorothy Johnson-Kelly said the local club was hoping to continue its involvement with the program.

“Thus far all the deliveries have been made by the South Australian Rotary club, at the members’ own expense,” she said.

“It’s getting a bit expensive for them to keep making the trips, so it’s time for another club to take the baton.

“We have worked anything out yet, but we’re interested in exploring if we could do that.”

Camden Rotary spend $10,000 to purchase parts for the mechanical hands.

Pairs spent two hours each assembling the limbs on Saturday, after receiving detailed instructions.

“It was like putting LEGO together,” Ms Johnson-Kelly said.

“They are almost like two salad tongs pushing together, but they are very strong and can allow people to hold a pen, a spoon or a tool.

“These people will now be able to feed themselves, write and work.”

Ms Johnson-Kelly said 450 prosthetic hands had already been delivered this year and there were at least two more trips scheduled.


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