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CT boys receive mechanical hands

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It was a proud and joyous moment for the parents of two young boys given a lifeline on Thursday – a mechanical hand. The energetic youngsters will now have improved mobility, after the Africa Muslims Agency (AMA) and Direct Aid International gave the learners an aid device called the Gripp3D Mechanical Aid which will be attached to their arm. The bright eyed boys from Cape Town, Saifullah Chafeker (8) and Saif Ali (5) developed Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS) in the womb and were born without a hand.

A special ribbon cutting ceremony took place at the AMA Cape Town offices on Thursday to signify the beginning of a project that could help thousands of children with disabilities nationwide.

Despite his disability, 8 year old Saif, currently in Grade2, shows remarkable academic ability at school, excelling in Mathematics English Literacy, and Science. Add to this, he shows clear signs, of artistic flair,and often achieves accolades in art whether at school or at extra curricular level.

Saif with his mother
Saif with his mother

The Chafeker family says Saifullah’s life thusfar has brought with it challenges that people often take for granted. Saifullah can now practice buttoning his shirt or tying his shoe laces thanks to the artificial aid.

“This aid means that there are people willing to help. Saifullah and Saif can now have a full life ahead of them thanks to the advancement of technology,” Saifullah’s grandmother, Salma Chafeker told VOC News.

A happy Saifullah with his   dad Junaid Chafeker
A happy Saifullah with his dad Junaid Chafeker

The hand consists of 3D printed parts which makes it affordable. AMA director Hassan Choonara says the organisation through Direct Aid International has teamed up with concept designer, Dr Vincent Joseph and Occupational Therapist, Renisha Patel who worked closely with the two boys to design the device for a perfect fit.

According to Dr Vincent Joseph, chairperson of the Palestinian Children Relief Fund, the concept of the device was first realised during a mission in Tripoli, Lebanon where a young boy, Abdullah, suffered a number of injuries due to a bomb explosion in his village in Syria which resulted in the loss of his left hand.

“I came back to South Africa thinking about how to form an artificial hand. Richard Van As from Robohand was the first man to come up with the concept of an artificial aid after he cut off four of his fingers. I got trained through him and brought him to Cape Town where we trained professional volunteers,” Joseph explained.

In addition, the aid also builds the self-esteem of the client by allowing them to overcome simple obstacles and participate in activities that were previously deemed impossible for someone with one hand. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)


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