Hot Cares Christmas – Youngster Gets the Tools He Needs to Make SA a Better Place

Hot Cares Christmas – Youngster Gets the Tools He Needs to Make SA a Better Place

The late Whitney Houston sang, “I believe the children are our future”, whilst former President Nelson Mandela once said, “Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth, those who care for and protect our people.”

If only Mandela and Houston had the opportunity to meet 17-year-old Saul Fox, because if he represents the future of South Africa, then our country is in good hands.

This is a young boy going into his final year of school at Yeshiva College, after which he’d like to study Biomedical Engineering, and what he’s trying to achieve is remarkable and will improve the lives of so many people.

Saul’s story started when his school received a 3D printer for students to use, and he started to experiment with it.  This introduced him to 3D printing and design, and he discovered a costume accessory that was a finger extension. This apparently made him wonder if the same idea would work for someone who didn’t have fingers, which, in turn, led him to e-Nable, which is “an online global community of ‘Digital Humanitarian’ volunteers from all over the world, who are using 3D printers to make free and low-cost prosthetic upper limb devices for children and adults in need.”

The open-source designs created by e-Nable volunteers help those who were born missing their fingers and hands, or who have lost them due to war, natural disaster, illness or accidents. There are approximately 40 000 e-Nable volunteers in over 100 countries and they have delivered free hands and arms to an estimated 10 000-15 000 recipients who have little to no access to medical care.

Incredibly, though, barely anyone is doing this in South Africa, which got Saul thinking – something he relayed to Big Joburg Drive team members, Simon Parkinson and Dylan Rogers, when he visited HOT 102.7FM for a chat.

“A big part of getting a prosthetic is making it part of yourself, and being able to customise the prosthetics to the patient’s size and liking is important,” said Saul, who has conducted extensive research into what is needed to make these prosthetics from 3D printing. That has included consulting a range of experts, including an orthopaedic surgeon, a hand occupational therapist, and Tahirah Mangera, Biomedical Engineering lecturer at Wits University, who pointed him towards the Jumping Kids NGO, which supplies and maintains prosthetic equipment for children living with lower limb amputation or limb-related disability.

This has opened Saul’s eyes to the incredible need out there and instead of viewing the 3D printing of prosthetic limbs as a potential business opportunity, he wants to rather use it to help people and give those who can’t afford this equipment access at little or no cost.

But, he can’t do it alone and needs the money to finance his dream. To get his project off the ground he needs: a laptop, printer, software, ‘fingertips’, various hardware items, medical foam and other accessories, totalling an amount of just over R60 000.  

Both Hot Cares and the Dis-Chem Foundation want to keep Saul’s dream alive and that’s why we’re coming together to completely cover the full cost of this project, to the tune of R65 000!

You go, Saul! Do us proud and change the world!