Sierra Leone’s civil war left behind more than 27,000 amputees, most of whom cannot afford the expensive sockets that connect prosthetics to their severed limbs. But recent BYU graduates created an adjustable, affordable prosthetic socket to help.
As students, for their capstone project, recent mechanical engineering graduates Colton Graham and Sean Larson were part of a student team that worked with the nonprofit Engage Now Africa to produce a socket to fit prosthetics distributed by the International Red Cross.
Graham says, “There was a lot of back-and-forth as we learned what was needed and figured out a solution.” Ultimately, the students produced a socket for above-the-knee amputations—something that could cost hundreds of dollars in the United States— that costs about $40 and is made from materials that are available in Sierra Leone.
“We are so grateful for the family that decided to donate for our project,” says Larson. “As students, we rely on those donations so that we can have these real-life experiences.”