In all of our projects our primary aim has always been to build in-country capacity (1) to produce high quality protheses and orthoses and (2) to manage efficient orthopaedic workshops – because that capacity is crucial to our projects’ sustainability and long-term success. Therefore, sponsoring the training of new Malawian and Zambian prosthetists and orthotists has been and remains the most important and a key element of what we do.
In the main, our students have studied for a 3-year diploma but a few have qualified with a 1-year certificate and four have qualified with a degree, with a fifth in the pipeline. In the past, we have sponsored the training of students by sending them to the Tanzania Training Centre for Orthopaedic Technologists (TATCOT) (www.tatcot.org) in Moshi in Tanzania but now we will usually send students to either Exceed Worldwide in Cambodia (formerly the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics) (Exceed) (https://www.exceed-worldwide.org/cambodia) in Phnom Penh or Mobility India (https://mobility-india.org).
Benadeta Singini, the manager of our prosthetics and orthotics centre in Lilongwe, Malawi, (pictured below left) upgraded her diploma through a 3-year blended, distance learning course provided by Human Study e.V. (http://www.human-study.org) and our current degree student, Samuel Mkomera from Malawi, (pictured below centre and right) is undertaking a two-year residential course to upgrade his diploma to a bachelor degree at the Sirindhorn School of Prosthetics and Orthotics (SSPO) (https://sites.google.com/mahidol.edu/sspoundergraduateeducation/home) which is part of Mahidol University in Thailand.
All of these schools teach the use of polypropylene technology which is the system that we use and promote for the manufacture of prosthetic and orthotic devices in our projects.
Wherever possible we sponsor people with whom we already have a working relationship as a result of their having worked with us on one of our projects. Sorry but we do not accept unsolicited applications.
Including Samuel, 500 miles has sponsored the training of a total of 20 African technologists (including two Tanzanian students) for 22 qualifications. You can meet our students and former students below (with the most recent, top left and the earliest, bottom right) – just click on a name to read the profile.