While many around the globe dream of visiting Aruba, situated west of the Lesser Antilles in the Southern Caribbean sea, they dream of white sandy beaches, long naps, and fru-fru drinks with umbrellas sipped slowly in the sun. These visitors make a thriving economy for the unique Dutch island. Many who make up the local population of islanders are still enmeshed in poverty however, and medical care that most of us take for granted is not available to some.
In an inspiring story where citizens on the island helped each other in sharing technology, resources, and in reaching out to assist fellow humans, we learned that Aruba is about far more than lazy vacations. Known for being strong in education, teachers take their jobs very seriously, as students do their work. And when one teacher in possession of a 3D printer at the International School of Aruba heard of a disabled child in need at a nearby school, he took action, teaming up with e-NABLE to perform another amazing feat with prosthetics.
Through Facebook, teacher Pieter Verduijn saw a request from an island teacher who knew about the technology–and e-NABLE–and was looking for a way to create a 3D printed e-NABLE device for a young girl of hers who was missing fingers on her right hand.
“Aruba isn’t a poor country like other Caribbean countries, but that is mainly because of the tourists. A bigger group of people are still living in poverty, and having access to prosthetics is an impossible dream…until now,” said Verduijn. “I responded to the teacher and told her that our school had a 3D printer and I would like to help, along with my students. For the girl it would be a success and for the class too. They would learn to cooperate.”
The class actually made not just one–but two–hands, and delivered them by hand also. The meeting between the students was very emotional as they gave the 3D printed devices to Ziti. Tears–and very large smiles–were shared by all, with the images really telling the story in itself.
Verduijn had an amazing journey working with his students, watching their progress, as well as their initiative. He pointed out what a great job they did on the project, even taking care of and fixing their 3D printer when it was malfunctioning due to a clogged extruder.
“The kids I am working with are around 14 years old and in the 9th grade. They have put their whole progress on their Facebook page, which is awesome! Their next step is to start a foundation so that the money raised can be used for the foundation only–and it will be held at our school, and led by the children,” said Verduijn. “They will be taught compassion, leadership and organization. It serves many good causes but the most important of these is enabling people by giving them hands.”
“In the past few weeks they learned to have meetings, co-operate, help and build. It’s unbelievable when you realize that at the beginning they needed a lot of instruction from me but by the end, I could sit down and watch them progressing and they were the ones that did the job! I am unbelievably proud of them!”
The e-NABLE team points out in their blog that along with the beauty involved in helping others is also the miracle that today classes around the world are able to use 3D printing and e-NABLE templates and devices as ‘service work,’ coming together as teams–around the world–to really change the lives ofothers in an unforgettable way.
e-NABLE is an undeniably amazing organization that we follow often, with recent projects in Brazil and Paraguay offering inspiration as prosthetics were delivered to very happy children who now have much better mobility–and quality of life. Discuss this story in the Hands for Ziti Forum thread on 3DPB.com.