This Malaysian innovator creates prosthetics for disadvantaged children using a 3D printer

It was upon his son’s birth that Faizi Rosdi realised Fahim's left hand was deformed.

The 33-year-old postman got worried that it would be hard for Fahim to live with being disabled, as prosthetics are not always readily available in Malaysia, and it may cost too much to buy one.

"I would feel sad whenever I saw his left hand. It was hard to believe, for me and my wife," Faizi said. "I wanted to share this with my mother-in-law but I felt scared, I felt worried about telling her."

Faizi shared that his son would have difficulty doing things with his left hand. This in turn affected his other hand because he would have to do everything using his right.

However, their lives would soon turn around for the better after meeting Sujana Mohd Rejab, commonly known as Pak Su.

At a check-up at Hospital KL, Faizi found out that Pak Su builds prosthetic arms using 3D printers, and gives them to help kids like Fahim live a normal life.

What pushed Pak Su to create prosthetics?

A teacher at a government school in Sitiawan, Perak by profession, Pak Su’s prime motivation for making prosthetics is to help disadvantaged disabled children, especially in Malaysia and other countries in Southeast Asia where technologies like this are not readily available.

"What motivates me to continue to make these hands is that, when I look at Malaysia or even Southeast Asia, not many want to do programmes like this. I feel no loss when doing something like this because if we do something good, what comes out of it is good. It’s goodness multiplied," he said.

A man by the name of Pak Su in his home, with a 3D printing device he uses to print 3D prosthetics.
Pak Su uses his 'internet learning' to help disabled children. (Photo: Yahoo Malaysia)

The usual feedback he gets from those who have used his 3D-printed prosthetic devices is that they are easily broken.

However, Pak Su doesn’t see this as a reason to give up, but as motivation to keep going and to improve his work.

"The prosthetics built are fragile - they break easily. So I managed to figure out that this was due to the material presently used in this technology. Since then till now, I would do research to find machines and material which are of a higher quality so that the prosthetics produced in the future will be of higher quality," he said.

He also revealed that when he started the project, his main problem was financing. But thanks to a memorandum of understanding with an organisation who would fund prosthetics for children that needed it, kids like Fahim are able to have a semblance of normalcy in life.

This benefits not just the child, but also parents like Faizi and his wife.

Previously, it was difficult for them to send Fahim to the hospital twice a year, which is far from where they live.

The family would get lost going to and from the hospital, as the maps would not show the accurate directions.

"When I received the prosthetic from Pak Su, my wife and I felt so happy because Pak Su was willing to help my child by building this 3D [printed] arm," Faizi said.

"My hope, along with my wife, is that my child will be successful in creating a better future for himself, with the help of that 3D (printed) arm, as he grows up,”" he added.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news writer who focuses on politics, the economy, and democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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