Fish Insurance
Speak to one of our experts 0333 331 3770

An Interview with Legs4Africa

Last week we introduced you to the work of Legs 4 Africa, a UK charity which delivers donated prosthetics to West Africans who have lost limbs through illness or injury. In this second part of our exclusive blog we look at the challenges and opportunities the charity faces.

The work Legs4Africa carries out is vital. It’s important to recognise just how far out of reach artificial limbs are to ordinary West Africans, with a basic prosthetic costing around £350 in Gambia, a country where the average annual wage is just £250.

The charity really makes a difference. Because it is delivering legs in their hundreds, clinicians in Africa have the flexibility to choose the best match for a particular patient. But to have the most impact it is keen to step up its activities, hoping that prosthetic manufacturers and others will help it raise awareness and donations. Around half of donor limbs currently come from hospital units with the remainder from individuals, often the relatives of an amputee who may have passed away. Explains Tom: “Loved ones who have lost someone close to them are left with a leg they don’t really know what to do with. They don’t want to throw it away because it’s personal to them, part of the person they’ve lost. When they come across Legs4Africa it can be a huge relief because that person’s legacy continues.”

Reaching those people isn’t easy which is why the charity is keen to forge awareness-raising partnerships – and is why we’re publishing these blogs.

“It would be great for example if prosthetic manufacturers could put in place some sort of programme so that their clients are made aware that, once redundant, their leg could help transform someone else’s life.”

Another aim is to tackle the issue which is responsible for the charities biggest single cost: transport. “We’re an unpaid collective of around 20 active volunteers and so the costs we incur are all external and the thing that costs money is transport,” says Tom. Ever resourceful he’s currently having conversations with a West African national airline – talks he reports are going quite well – which flies into Gambia and other countries in the region.

The hope is the charity can secure free air freight slots so that regular deliveries can be made without, for example, the need to use land and sea containers which are naturally slower and cost around £1,000 a pop. Tom is also on the look-out for someone willing to sponsor a van so it can create a UK network of pick-up points from where donor limbs can be regularly collected.

He hopes that two forthcoming documentaries on the charity’s work will encourage commercial sponsors to step up to the mark as Legs4Africa’s mission gains further profile. “One’s already been filmed and one will be filmed soon which aims to capture what it’s like to live as an amputee in Africa. We’ve also quite a good presence on social media, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and we’re in the Press quite a bit,” he notes, understanding that sponsors often seek a return beyond a box ticked under their Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

After what was a great 2014 for Tom and his team, they are hoping that 2015 will be even more successful. With a target of obtaining 3000 prosthetic legs to send to Africa by the end of the year, why not play your part in helping them achieve this by sharing this article and supporting Legs4Africa in whatever way you can?

  • To enquire about donating a prosthetic leg click here.
  • To make a cash donation to Legs4Africa click here.

For help, speak
to one of our team
call 0333 331 3770

A photo of a customer service employee.