Maputo, 6 July 2022 (TDI): USAID Africa shared that Martela Vania Uetela, an Environmental Social Impact Entrepreneur recycles the plastic wastes and the nets that are used for fishing from the Mozambique coast to manufacture affordable prosthetics for amputees.
Martela Vânia Uetela, an environmental social impact entrepreneur and @YALI_SAfrica alumna, creates affordable prosthetics for amputees using plastic waste and fishing nets from the coast of #Mozambique. Here’s her story: https://t.co/tu92rt4khk https://t.co/8gjG6YbSiP pic.twitter.com/l5IuFuDSem
— USAID in Africa (@USAIDAfrica) July 5, 2022
Martela is a Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Regional Leadership Centre Southern Africa former student where she was taught how to build things. Martela focused on environmental and social effects and started a company named BioMec to manufacture prosthetics.
Martela’s friend who lost her leg faced difficulty to find an affordable prosthetic to walk again. She wanted to help her friend by giving her an affordable and workable new leg through her business.
Manufacturing Prosthetics for Amputees
Mozambique’s coastline is 2,400 km long and is a source of income for the fishers. Plastic wastes, litter, and waste fishing nets created pollution on the coastline. This even threatened the fishing and local communities and villages.
Environmental groups started the campaigns which involve hundreds of volunteers who collected debris and litter during Covid-19 pandemic. But the question arose about the usage of all these?
Martela decided to recycle the waste fishing nets and plastic for manufacturing prosthetics for amputees. Marta created a prototype in 2020 and then spent the following six months collecting money for development in the process.
Developing technical assistance for Prosthetics
Martela found and attracted investors for her startup by drawing on her YALI leadership training in business and entrepreneurship. A quasi-governmental company recycling the products came up for investment.
The fabrication manufacturing line of the project received technical assistance from the British and Irish Embassies. Martela used silicon for the manufacturing of prosthetics products. Finally, the price of the product was reduced from $100 to $45.
The BioMec company distinctly creates prostheses as the final look of the limbs is decided by the clients. Martela personally designed prosthetics for amputees in Mozambique and Angola with more than 700 clients.