“The eNable Nepal team has been working hard. They’ve learned so much about 3D printing and eNable devices in such a short time. Their hard work and dedication is inspiring. Yesterday eNable Nepal delivered their first device. It was a very happy and wonderful experience. There was also a news story about this wonderful little girl, Khushi Shrestha. There is soo much more good to come.”

Peter Byron, a Rosemount Technology Center CAD teacher, was at an AutoDesk conference when a speaker shared his e-NABLE story about his work in Sierra Leone. Peter remembered a similar story he had read two years earlier about a university student who brought a 3D-printed assistive devices to Peru. Peter wondered what he could do to contribute. “I’ve always wanted to work with a charity,” Peter told me in an interview, “Growing up, one of my dream jobs as a kid was to deliver wishes at the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Volunteering at a makerspace was interesting but not humanitarian. This seemed like a good fit.” 

Peter noticed there was no chapter in Canada at the time, so he started the first; but he soon realized there was not sufficient demand for the devices in the area. After just one rewarding device delivery, he was hooked; but he had no outlet for his charitable endeavors. He said, “I didn’t know what to do if there wasn’t a need here.” He contacted hospitals and organizations, but they were not open to using the devices until Health Canada got involved.

Two Global Projects, One Day

That’s when the “craziest thing happened,” Peter recalls. A Toronto woman named Val called Peter, asking if he had devices she could distribute on her upcoming trip to Thailand. Peter was buzzing driving to work that day, thinking about what we could do. A quick word about the Thailand project — an excellent chronicle of the account is told at www.giveachildahand.wordpress.com. Peter collected devices for Val, and they found a partner in Thailand’s active e-NABLE chapter, Thai Reach, so they could run workshops, training, or wearing.

When Peter arrived at work after Val’s first call, a Nepalese friend at work named Rishi Shrestha announced that he would be visiting Nepal and would also like to bring assistive devices with him.

“Two projects on the same day! I couldn’t believe it. It was exactly what I was looking for,” Peter told me. “I really want to help them,” he told Montreal CTV News. “I want to see their smiles.”

A Global Effort to Birth e-NABLE Nepal

Upon investigation, Peter and Rishi discovered that over 30 individuals in Nepal were eager for their assistive devices. The Nobel Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal offered workspace, which now functions as the organization’s headquarters. The chapter can reach every corner of the rural country, with donors paying for transport and housing for recipients traveling to the city Kathmandu.

Over the past month, Peter and Rishi flew to Nepal to set up a 3D print lab and train local volunteers in 3D printing and sizing devices. Peter told me, “As of yesterday [July 21], they’ve delivered their first 3 devices and we hope to be assembling the 4th and 5th this morning.”

Although seemingly contradictory, the pair have found locally-sourced, global-level support. Nepalese businesses across the world, as well as other humanitarian businesses, have been a foundation of support for the endeavor. In a Facebook post, Peter recognizes the global support, “The Prusa i3 MK3 printers purchased by Future Crunch have been great machines. Thank you to all your subscribers and their generous donations to make it possible to start this project with two great machines. And thank you to all our donors who helped us get here with so much additional equipment and printers to help eNable Nepal get started.”

During his trip, Peter was touched by the Nepalese chapter’s gift to him and Rishi: a “beautifully mounted letter of participation and a plaque representing a token of love.

As the dreams of this pair have come to life, they have already changed lives around the world. The Crunch reports on one recipient, Khushi Shrestha. “She’s 7 years old, and loves the colour red. She lost her hand shortly after birth due to complications with medications. Here she is on the 20th July, sporting a brand new red and blue Raptor Reloaded 3D printed hand, open-sourced and hot off the Future Crunch printers.”

To support e-NABLE Nepal, visit: www.fundrazr.com/enableinnepal

Categories: Minds at Work

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