Regaining Independence With 3D-Printed Prosthesis: John’s Story

John receiving his Victoria Hand, St. Luke’s Orthopedic Hospital, 2022.
Remba Island is situated in Lake Victoria Homa Bay County on the north-south border between Kenya and Uganda. It is a small, densely populated island and home to some 20,000 people whose economy is entirely dependent on fishing [1]. Images by Julie Olum (left) [2] and Google Maps (right).

“I lost my left arm in a [cold-blooded] domestic attack with a machete from a close family member. This incapacitated me for over 13 years, during which I faced social stigma from members of the public who always stared at me, I couldn’t dress properly, or walk with a steady gait.”

Sadly, in the developing world, trauma is the leading cause of amputation, and accounts for up to 80% of all amputations [3]. With many people in these areas relying on labor-intensive occupations for their primary source of income, upper-limb amputations can leave families entrenched in a cycle of poverty [4].

“Before I received my prosthesis I couldn’t dress easily, I couldn’t cook easily, I couldn’t even lift up an object as light as a cup, I couldn’t hug my family and also I couldn’t look for things in my bags.”

He faced significant social stigma and barriers as he lived in a society where, often due to negative attitudes and traditional beliefs, individuals with limb differences are looked down on.

John at St. Luke’s Hospital learning how to use his functional Victoria Hand.

“The hand had a great social impact in my life… It has restored my dignity and social status. I now have confidence and I’m accepted in many social functions without raising unnecessary eyebrows.”

With his Victoria Hand, John is thrilled to become more independent and regain the ability to perform simple tasks, such as turning the pages of his Bible while he studies and lifting light objects. He appreciates the drastic social impact of having a prosthesis — avoiding unwanted attention and judgmental glances. The Victoria Hand has also improved John’s balance when he is sitting and walking.

John using his new Victoria Hand to drink water from a cup in his home, 2022.

How You Can Help

Since 2015, our success in helping amputees around the world has been made possible thanks to people just like you. With your generous contribution, no matter how great or small, you are able to truly make a difference. We are grateful for any help you can provide, and guarantee it will change lives for the better. Please consider donating to VHP today.

Lazaru and Benson received Victoria Hands from our partners at St. Luke’s in June, 2021.

More Stories and Impact

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Bin Amin writes with his new Victoria Hand (Child’s Hand, with the assistive writing device attachment).


[1] “UEFA Foundation”, UEFA Foundation, 2022. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01- Mar- 2022].
[2] J. Olum, “2 Weeks At Mfangano Island”,, 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01- Mar- 2022].
[3] A. Esquenazi, “Amputation rehabilitation and prosthetic restoration. from surgery to community reintegration,” Disability and Rehabilitation, vol. 26, no. 14–15, pp. 831–836, 2004.
[4] B. Phillips, G. Zingalis, S. Ritter, and K. Mehta, “A review of current upper-limb prostheses for resource constrained settings,” 2015 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC), 2015.



The Victoria Hand Project is a non-profit organization that designs low-cost, highly functional 3D printed prosthesis for amputees in-need across the world.

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Victoria Hand Project

The Victoria Hand Project is a non-profit organization that designs low-cost, highly functional 3D printed prosthesis for amputees in-need across the world.