One moment that every mother will always remember is the moment she held her child for the first time. For a woman named Nini, that moment was going to be a bit more difficult. The Indonesian woman had lost all of the fingers on her right hand in an accident at the plastics factory where she worked, and she was expecting a child in December 2015. While she would be able to hold her baby, she would struggle with basic tasks such as feeding her, changing her and tending to the many other needs that babies have.
Ali Sage, a man in Nini’s community, had once been afflicted with leprosy, a disease that, while famously rampant in Biblical times, still affects millions around the world. He had been helped by Christian Schild, a member of Rotary Club Jakarta, which had facilitated several projects aimed at aiding leprosy patients. After Sage recovered from his disease, he started a prosthesis workshop in his village of Sitanaia, where he has helped to provide prosthetics for numerous people with missing limbs. He had never heard of e-NABLE, but that was about to change thanks to his connection with Schild.
In July of 2015, Schild’s son saw a video of a child with a 3D printed hand, which led him to e-NABLE’s website. Schild, who knew of Nini’s injury, realized that he had found the perfect way to help her.
“Through my research, I found out that at the beginning of August, an Office Machine Exhibition was held here in Jakarta, including information about 3D printers. There were 5 companies promoting 3D printers and materials, so I spoke with some of them about this project,” said Schild. “It started with Heri Kristanto of PT Indoprint in Surabaya, who offered to make one hand. Shortly after this, I was called by Wadi Chan of 3D Solution here in Jakarta. Wadi has a 3D printing business and is very familiar with the technology and suggested we make a Raptor/Osprey hand.”
Schild and his wife, Trisweni Astuti, traveled to Nini’s village to speak with her and take measurements, at which point they began printing a hand for her. The process took about two months – although a 3D printer was available, they had some difficulty finding the hardware and materials necessary to assemble the device. The prosthetic was completed before Nini’s daughter was born, however, so she had time to practice and become adept after Schild and Sage fitted her with her new hand. When her baby arrived, Nini was ready to hold, feed, and care for her.
The region of Indonesia where Nini lives is an underserved one, with a large number of people in need of, and unable to access, assistive devices. Sage, Schild and their team have taken an important step, however, towards making such devices available for everyone who needs them.
“This will be a great help for many people who have lost their hands,” said Schild. “3D printing is still new here in Indonesia and not many companies are doing this kind of work. Together with Heri, Wadi, Ali and Trisweni, we hope to be able to extend the production of the hands into more regions in Indonesia in the future. Our aim is to promote and arrange seminars and training programs for more people to be able to make these 3D printed hands.”
Below, you can see the dexterity that Nini has developed with her new hand as she cares for her baby. Tell us what you think of this inspirational story in the 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand for Nini forum over at 3DPB.com.