First opened in 1982, the Somali Red Crescent Rehabilitation Center is one of the only facilities in Somalia helping the disabled by making prosthetic legs for them to be able to walk on. Despite Somalia having gone through a 25 year civil war, the center has remained open for all but two months since then and in that time has made more than 15,000 prostheses for Somalis.
For many of those visiting the center, it is their first time learning about modern prosthetics and most come wearing crude versions of their own prosthetic limbs they’ve made out of traditional materials themselves. These traditional prostheses, made of everything from wood to plastic, are sometimes left at the center after their owners receive their new limbs. They serve both as a reminder to the many hardships disabled people in Somalia face today, as well as the human ingenuity that went into making them.
Today the center continues to remain busy, with as many as five thousand patients flowing through their doors each year. With Somalia’s gradual emergence from more than two decades of conflict though, the center now focuses more on making prostheses for those who have lost their limbs in traffic accidents rather than war.