HEAL and ELoH join forces to reach out to child amputees of India

Elizabeth Panton-HEAL Artificial Limb Centre, HEAL Paradise Village, ELoH

HEAL founder Dr Satya Prasad Koneru with three visitors from ELoH at the Elizabeth Panton-HEAL Artificial Limb Centre at HEAL Paradise Village

HEAL Paradise Village was a hive of activity for a Press Day at the Elizabeth Panton-HEAL Artificial Limb Centre as HEAL and UK funding partners ELoH (Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope) joined forces to appeal to the combined might of the Indian Press and media in reducing the suffering of child amputees.

At a special gathering in Thotapalli, Andhra Pradesh, three representatives from ELoH – co-founder Sarah Hope, trustee Jennie Evans and communications officer Emilie Schultze – said they were standing side by side with HEAL, in asking news organisations to back their campaign.

In a joint statement to a large gathering of regional and national newspaper and television journalists, the two UK-based non-profit organisations said: “Only through the power of the Press can we hope to spread the word far and wide and put hundreds of India’s young amputees back on their feet.”

HEAL’s impressive Paradise Village health and education campus, rising up from 27 acres of former wasteland at rural Thotapalli, was the backdrop for this rallying call with HEAL founder Dr Satya Prasad Koneru in attendance to add weight to the joint plea.

Already 32 child amputees are walking again after receiving lower limbs free of charge thanks to funding from ELoH and the hosting and running of a limb laboratory by HEAL.

The statement continued: “For two years we have been on a joint mission to manufacture and supply artificial limbs for children who are missing one leg, or even two, in rural southern India.

“Progress is being made, but we remain painfully aware that there is much to be done. And we need your help. So far, 32 children have been fitted with artificial limbs here free of charge, with all travel charges reimbursed. Each has a story of hardship to tell, some having suffered horrendous injuries during their young lives and others missing limbs from birth.

“We want to help many more at this unique facility. HEAL administrators have been working hard to reach out to as many child amputees and their families as possible, visiting village after village and sending out countless letters and emails.

“But they have been largely frustrated in their efforts by a lack of response. For instance, we only received one reply from sending out 2,000 letters to disabled people in one district. We hope our friends in the Press and media will be moved by the stories of our young amputees enough to join our campaign to raise awareness of this wonderful facility.”

One such story is that of teenage girl Meghana, who lost both her legs in an accident. It had a devastating impact on her life… from being an independent and active girl, she became completely reliant on her mother and grandmother. She suffered from agony and depression and did not think she had a future.

But Meghana enrolled at the Elizabeth Panton-HEAL Artificial Limb Centre at Paradise Village. Now she has two prosthetic legs and is walking again. She loves school and is finally enjoying life.

“We are delighted to be here in India and thrilled with today’s response,” said Sarah. “It was amazing to see so many television cameras and members of the written Press here and the story gets even better… I can announce that from tomorrow there will be a fantastic mobile artificial limb centre coming around all the villages delivering on-the-spot care to make it easier for amputees to access our services and reduce the amount of travelling they will have to do.”

For further details please contact the Limb Centre on 9100024438, or Paradise Village CEO Mr AjayKumar on 7032885515.