A fantastic opportunity has recently presented itself to work with the Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge. An important part of the work of the Metropolitan Sanctuary in Kenya is to provide orthotic braces and splints free of charge to children who otherwise would have no access to such treatment or equipment. One restriction on this work, though, is that the thermoplastic material (sheets of plastic that soften and become mouldable when heated) used to make these splints is very expensive. It occurred to the management of the clinic that it would be wonderful develop a means of producing thermoplastic sheets from recycled materials, which would be more affordable for the clinic and better for the environment.

Starting in September, an Engineering student from the University of Cambridge will be researching the possibility of using recycled materials to produce thermoplastics suitable for braces and splints as their Master’s research project. At this stage the outcomes are still uncertain but it is hoped that positive findings will be forthcoming, and the institution is extremely grateful to the University for taking on board this research which might assist the work of the Metropolitan Sanctuary. The results of the research will be the property of the University, and will be available to any charity who also wishes to use them; it is hoped that in this way Befrienders For Disability will make a difference to the lives of many children in rural Kenya, and beyond!

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