3D printed prosthetic arms and hands

by Bolivians Without Disabilities
3D printed prosthetic arms and hands
3D printed prosthetic arms and hands
3D printed prosthetic arms and hands
3D printed prosthetic arms and hands

Project Report | Mar 2, 2024
Juan played with fireworks

By Matthew Pepe | President

This is the story of Juan's tragedy, as told to us by Juan.

"My name is Juan, I live behind Mt. Illimani, Bolivia, in a small town called Coni in the Tiwanaku Community and I work in agriculture. My hand was destroyed on the anniversary of my village when we were setting off fireworks. I was lighting one, saw the sparks, and tried to throw it away. But it exploded in the instant while it was still in my hand. When I woke up I felt intense pain and I saw what remained of my hand. I remember that I cried and wanted to kill myself. Then I remembered my children, they needed me and that gave me the strength to live on.

After the accident, I was brought to the hospital where I stayed for almost two weeks. They amputated the rest of my hand and closed the wound. I should have stayed longer but I had to get back to my family. So I spoke to the doctor and told him that I felt fine and I was ready to leave, but the truth was that I was still really suffering from pain. I also could not afford to stay longer.

When I returned home, it was very hard to return to "normal". I couldn't write or sign anything anymore. In the village, the children asked their mothers why I didn't have my hand. And the mothers would sometimes say, "He must have been a thief and that is what happens when you steal - so don't steal or they will cut off your hands". The children stared at me and I felt like such an outcast. That's why is why I hid my hand in my pocket ever since.

But in 2020 my luck changed and I received a prosthetic hand with the help of Bolivians Without Disabilities, in the USA.

When I returned home again, with my new prosthetic limb, I wanted to see the look on my children's faces when they saw my new hand. I wanted to see what my children would say because it's identical to the other hand I have.

Today, I am leaving and feeling complete once again. I won't have to hide my hand, nor cloak my arm always in a jacket. I hope that many other amputees can be helped so that they can put the pieces of their lives back together. This hand is a blessing. I had been very sad, but for the first time in a long time, I feel happy and optimistic again. Thank you for helping make this dream come true.

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Organization Information

Bolivians Without Disabilities

Location: melbourne, FL - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Bolivians_Disab
Project Leader:
matthew pepe
Indn Hbr Bch , FL United States

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