Chaudhary Foundation’s Artificial Limb Fitment Camps finish: 476 people received prosthetics, permanent center set to open
There are an estimated 100,000 people in Nepal living with amputated limbs from accidents and illnesses like motor vehicle crashes, scorpion stings or cancer.
Beyond living with the trauma that caused them to lose their arms or legs, many say they feel alienated or isolated from their family, friends and communities after.
But for the first time in years or even decades, 476 people could walk again thanks to the prosthetic limbs they received during Chaudhary Foundation’s Artificial Limb Fitment Camps in Kathmandu and Nawalparasi.
“I can only imagine how difficult life is for people who lost their leg for a sin that they haven’t even committed,” said Binod Chaudhary, the chairman of the foundation, during the opening ceremony of the Nawalparasi Camp. “It is not just standing and walking as we usually think, they are challenged to carry out their everyday activities — this is our small initiative to make their life bit easier.”
The idea was born after Chaudhary Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding in 2017 with the Indian Government to bring Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS or Jaipur Foot) —an organization that provides free prosthetics, calipers and other equipment to beneficiaries around the world — to Nepal.
Chaudhary noted that he was “highly impressed” by Jaipur Foot’s work, which is why he decided to bring it to Nepal.
The foundation, in partnership with Jaipur Foot and the Embassy of India, ran the joint initiative through the name “Artificial Limb Fitment Camp” and was supported by Sahaj Community Hospital in Nawalparasi and Norvic International Hospital in Kathmandu.
Though the foundation aimed to provide 500 prosthetics on a first come, first served basis, it turned no one away — the Kathmandu camp (Jan. 11 to 15) helped 58 recipients receive 59 limbs and the Nawalparasi camp (Jan. 17 to Feb. 21) helped another 418 beneficiaries receive 449.
“The artificial limb camp was first of its kind in Nepal, where we were able to serve around 500 amputees,” said Varun Chaudhary, the executive director of the Chaudhary Group. “This is something we feel very proud of — providing service to those in need.”
During the camps, the demand for these services became apparent, with an average of 15 beneficiaries served daily. Because of the need, Chaudhary Foundation is in the process of establishing a permanent center at Sahaj Community Hospital, called the CG Mahaveer Sabal Center, and is set to open on April 14.
“After this camp, I realized that there are a lot of people who are struggling to get prosthesis limb, which is why Chaudhary Foundation won’t do only one,” Varun Chaudhary said. “We are trying to establish a permanent center; we are trying our best to extend this service in a sustainable manner.”
The center will support Nepal’s physically disabled population by regularly providing artificial limbs, post-fitment care and other aids throughout the year rather than only during the temporary camps.
Chaudhary Group is funding costs associated with its establishment — including space, equipment, installation, staff and training. However, the center is looking for additional donations to ensure these services are provided free of cost.
And for the 476 beneficiaries already helped, many said they had a new lease on life:
- Meet Indira; this story defined her for most of her life. When Indira was 6-months-old, she lost both of her legs in a house fire. Indira said she always felt “alone” because she couldn’t go to school and was “afraid” she would never get a job or find a husband. However, Indira went to school at 15 and completed her studies at 27. And though it was short-lived, she went on to get a job at a bank for a year. Indira also beat her biggest fear and has been happily married for a year now. Despite the odds, Indira has lived a happy and successful life, though she was still defined by what happened to her. However, those days are over: She was given two prosthetic legs on Jan. 17 during the Nawalparasi camp. Now Indira said she is “happy” and plans to find a job and live the life she always dreamed.
- Dhan said she works hard every day to be nice so she can be happy. After all, her first piece of advice is always, “if you [are] nice, you will be happy.” However, despite her kindness, Dhan said she isn’t truly happy because she has felt different for over 35 years. It started with losing her leg in a car accident. But with a big smile on her face, she proudly proclaimed she was “happy now” because she was able to walk for the first time in decades with her new prosthetic leg that she received on Jan. 17 during the Nawalparasi camp.
- The first thing Suk said was, “I feel different.” He said the alienation started over 30 years ago after a bus accident that left him without a leg. But Suk said he wants to walk again and finally has “confidence” that he will thanks to the new prosthetic leg he received on Jan. 17 during the Nawalparasi camp. During the camp, Suk said he was “inspired” by everyone around him and that alone could drive him to learn how to walk again.
- For 11 years, Kaji said he has felt “excommunicated” from his family, friends and community. He said it began on what seemed like a normal day. However, by the time the day was over, Kaji’s leg was amputated, and he felt alone. He said he was bicycling on the highway when a truck hit him, and though he was given a prosthetic leg after the accident, it wasn’t good enough to walk normally. But with the new prosthetic he received at the Nawalparasi camp on Jan.17, Kaji said, “it will change everything in my life.”
- Scorpion stings are a common problem in Eastern Nepal — a problem that Kancho knows well. Over 28 years ago, Kancho was likely stung by the deadly red scorpion. And though he is lucky to be alive, he was unfortunate enough to lose his leg. But on Jan. 13, Kancho was given a prosthesis leg at the Kathmandu camp, and for the first time in decades, he said he “feels good” again.