Lending a helping hand: Victoria non-profit in the running for huge Google grant

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Victoria company in the running for huge Google prize
WATCH: A Victoria non-profit operation that uses cutting-edge technology to help disabled people in developing countries is one of the finalists for a contest that could change everything – Mar 9, 2017

A Victoria non-profit that uses cutting-edge technology to help the disabled in developing countries is in the running for a contest that could change everything.

The Victoria Hand Project has made it to the finals of the Google Impact Challenge, a competition that invited Canadian charities to vie for a $750,000 grant.

The Victoria Hand Project builds low-cost, customized prosthetic hands for people in impoverished communities.

The prosthetic limbs are designed in a biomedical lab at the University of Victoria and they’re built using a 3-D printer.

The group has partnered with clinics in Haiti, Nepal, Cambodia, Guatemala and Ecuador.

“We train people there in the country to produce the device and then to fit the device. We do help from time to time. The goal is, as it’s happening in Cambodia, that they’re just doing it all on their own now,” the non-profit’s executive director and UVic associate professor Nik Dechev said.

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Dechev said in the last two-and-a-half years, they have equipped 70 people with prosthetic hands.

But their funding from Grand Challenges Canada has run out, bringing their work to a halt. That’s why they are relying on the Google grant.

“It will help us help 750 amputees in 10 countries throughout the world,” Dechev said.

There’s also an award for the finalist with the most public votes. Click here to visit their website and to place a vote.

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