After his visit to the Spinal Rehabilitation Centre in Battambang, Cambodia, where he gave a presentation on living with Spinal Cord Injuries, former student Jason Alner maintained contact with Dr Eric Grønnestad who works at the Rehabilitation Centre. When he returned, Jason approached our Fashion department to see if they could help the charity by making some cuffs.
What are Universal Cuffs? The cuffs go around the hand, and are used by adults and children with little to no strength in their hands. They can hold all sorts of utensils, and aid in day-to-day activities such as eating and using a computer.
Our students made eight universal cuffs out of mock-leather material for Jason to take to Cambodia on his next visit this coming September.
Jason said “I’m a quadriplegic, having broken my neck in 1999. I have no hand function and am reliant on a wheelchair for mobility. I gave a presentation on living with [Spinal Cord Injuries] at the Spinal Rehabilitation Centre in Battambang and demonstrated some adaptations I use to make life easier.
“The universal cuff made by the students in Fashion & Design at Farnborough [College] is by far the most useful thing I use; it’s a textile design worn on the hand to aid with vital daily tasks such as eating, writing, brushing hair and shaving.
From left to right: Stephanie, Abbey, Hannah, Elise, Lauren, Ashis, Smriti, Chelsea, Jason and Hollie
“The patients at the spinal centre in Cambodia were very interested in the design. During the demonstration some patients were able to use the device to write for the first time since sustaining their injury.”
Fashion Lecturer, Samantha Jones, said “It’s always good to see students actively helping others who may be less fortunate than themselves. Each year we try to participate in charitable projects in order to give something back to the community.
“I’m really proud that the students wanted to get involved and help Jason on his mission to improve the life of quadriplegic patients and we are hoping to work on future projects with him.”
Jason speaking to patients at the Spinal Rehabilitation Centre in Battambang, Cambodia.
Jason was also able to tell us a little background on the centre: The Spinal Rehabilitation Centre was built and supported by Handicap France from 1993 until they stopped funding the centre in January 2009, handing over to the local authority in Battambang, Cambodia.
As a result, there was a decrease in funding and the centre had to cut staff significantly, and close beds. A Norwegian NGO (Non-government organisation) Rescio, came to their rescue and sent health workers from Sunnaas Rehabilitation hospital in Norway.
They have been helping to train and educate staff and patients on spinal cord injuries and the most effective ways to treat and maintain health while living with a spinal cord injury.
We hope that Jason’s next trip to the centre goes well, and would like to express our pride in Stephanie, Abbey, Hannah, Elise, Lauren, Ashis, Smriti, Chelsea and Hollie for making the wristbands which will continue to help people at the centre in Cambodia. Well done.