With support from bereaved families, the Southern Co-operative’s funeral homes are collecting prosthetics for amputees in some of the poorest countries in the world.
The society is working on the initiative with charity Legs4Africa, which collects and recycles prosthetic limb components from UK hospitals and private donors. These are adapted and fitted by trained technicians at partnering hospitals in Africa.
Colleagues at the Co-operative Funeralcare branches across the region are making families aware of the scheme and two prosthetics have already been donated by local families. All donations are made with the explicit consent of each family.
Jan Saidy, from the Southern Co-op’s Somerstown branch, said: “We often forget how lucky we are in the UK so it is really humbling to know that there are families who are willing to share such a precious gift.
“Healthcare providers may not accept the prosthetics back so by donating them to Legs4Africa they can be sent to mobility centres in low income African countries where they are used to custom build prosthetic legs.”
Around 30% of the prosthetics given to Legs4Africa come from donations from bereaved families.
Tom Williams, founder of Legs4Africa, said: “A leg might just be the best legacy someone could ever leave behind. By donating a prosthetic, you can give someone in another country the chance to get back on their feet and be independent again.”