In Douma, Fashioning Artificial Limbs Out of Mannequin Arms and Plastic Water Tanks


The 49-year-old Rushdi says the duo used mannequin pieces to make their early prosthetics, but were soon overwhelmed by demand. They switched to plaster, which also ran out, then to wood and metal, which proved too heavy for proper mobility. limbs3

So far, Salah and Rushdi have fitted 54 patients for limbs. "An industrial prosthetic used to cost anywhere between $250 and $600, depending on its quality," Rushdi says. "Today, it costs us about $200 to make one of these prosthetics. We use local material and do not receive any payment – all of the prosthetics we make are offered for free while Salah and I cover the expenses."

PHOTO: Part of a plastic water tank, used to make prosthetics.
Ahmad Khali/Syria Deeply
PHOTO: Part of a plastic water tank, used to make prosthetics.

The duo hopes to keep working until money runs out, but fellow locals are rising to the task. They've begun donating what they can to the workshop, he says, such as raw materials like plaster, mannequins and even water tanks.

With materials at a premium, they've been forced to be creative. The two are now using the firm, sturdy plastic from unused water tanks to construct prosthetic arms and legs. "I don’t know what will happen when we run out of those," Rushdi admits, "but I’m sure we will find another way.”

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