I recently came across a wonderful organization called Enabling the Future. This group is working hard to give everyone a chance at a decent life. It does this by connecting individuals who use 3D printers to create artificial arms and hands to those who need such devices.
This is such an admirable mission and something we should all be striving for. We all tend to live as if we are the only ones who matter. As much as the world has gotten smaller in terms of connectivity and exposure, at the same time, people are also becoming more insular and, dare I say, selfish.
It is understandable that in such uncertain times we would want to retreat and focus on us and those who immediately surround us. But this is the wrong thing to do because, ultimately, we are only hurting ourselves.
Enabling the Future embodies the selflessness, sharing and collaboration that the world needs today. The group’s only goal is to help those who were born without limbs or who have lost limbs as a result of war, disease or natural disaster, according to the organization’s website, enablingthefuture.org.
“… e-NABLE is filled with people who are only influenced by the available colors of filament that can be fed into their 3D printers and not by the rainbow of colors of the hands of the volunteers that tirelessly build, assemble, design and gift 3D printed assistive tools to those in need of a “Helping hand” – no matter who they are or what country they are from,” a blog on the website states.
The seed for the group began with a costume. Ivan Owen, a prop maker and self-taught engineer in the U.S., had created a functional, metal puppet hand for a costume. A South African carpenter named Richard van As who had lost fingers in a woodworking accident happened to see a video about Owen’s costume hand.
The two worked together – all while living thousands of miles apart – and eventually were able to create a replacement finger for van As. Word spread and the two created a small hand for a young boy who was born without fingers.
Jon Schull, a faculty member at New York’s Rochester Institute for Technology, saw the work that the two had done – again through a YouTube video. Schull created an online map and asked those who had 3D printers and those who needed hands to pinpoint themselves on the map so that supply could meet demand. This is how e-NABLE grew.
A seemingly simple idea grew into something that is helping thousands of people around the world. It all happened because people were generous and paying attention. Let us all keep our eyes, ears and hearts open to the world.
Weaver, Thinker, Doer