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Bristol charity helps amputees ‘Step Into Christmas’

A Bristol-based charity has launched a ‘Step into Christmas’ campaign, to provide prosthetic limbs to amputees in sub-Saharan Africa.

Legs4Africa collects second-hand prosthetics and matches them with amputees in Ghana. The charity has helped thousands of amputees to walk again, whilst also providing rehabilitation support.

Until 6 December, the charity will double all donations received to provide rehabilitation and educational services for amputees in Ghana.

1.7 million amputees in Africa awaiting prosthetic limbs

Around 1.7 million amputees in Africa are awaiting prosthetic limbs, which are almost impossible to locate outside of the Legs4Africa centres, with around 66% of amputees suffering from mental health issues due to limb loss in Western Africa.

The charity received it’s 10,000th prosthetic leg donation in 2021, but says vital support is also needed to help the many amputees who struggle to rebuild their lives and mental wellbeing following amputation.

Legs4Africa trained four new peer counsellors in 2021, who are helping to change the narrative in their communities about what it means to be an amputee. The peer counsellors prepare amputees emotionally and physically to steer through their new phase. Each counsellor draws on their own disability-related experiences to support amputees recover from stigma and assist them in developing hope and improve their lives.

“Receiving a prosthetic leg is only the first step in helping individuals get back on their feet”

With a dedicated counselling team in South Ghana, it is hoped funds from ‘Step into Christmas’ will provide the opportunity for a similar team in the North.

Tom Williams, founder of Legs4Africa, said: “The ‘Step into Christmas’ campaign gives hope to many families who are struggling to come to terms with life changing amputations.

“Receiving a prosthetic leg is only the first step in helping individuals get back on their feet. Many amputees will have already experienced acute trauma in their lives resulting in ongoing rehabilitation and mental health challenges as they come to terms with the new phase of their journey which can be a difficult time
to navigate.

Peer counselling is also vital

“Our peer counsellor training and rehabilitation support in Ghana has proved to be extremely successful and we want to extend the program further so that we can help more people get back on their feet and on with their lives.

“I appreciate that times are difficult for many at the moment but even a small amount can make a huge difference in changing a person’s life.”

Learn more about Legs4 Africa at: legs4africa.org.