The clinic is a cozy oasis—decked with sky blue walls and blue doors—nestled into a rural pocket of Mumbai: its ramshackled exterior fitted into a ghost town of stray cats and overhanging dust deceives the avant-garde technological advance brimming just inside.
Here, a man journeys in, self consciously flaunting a stub leg with his crutches and his grimacing walk. Two hours later, he walks out comfortably, albeit with a limping, stiff swing of his hip, and completely without a crutch—save for the prosthetic limb seamlessly integrated into his body. He walked in earlier that day just hearing stories of magic, of free limbs for amputees. He walked in without money in his pocket expecting to be turned back, to have reaffirmed the myth he had dreamt all of this was in the first place. But the reality of that clinic is the work of God.
The RatnaNidhi amputation clinic provides prosthetic limbs, for free, for everyone. It’s simple: you walk in, they take some measurements, and they can provide you with a ready made limb right then. Or, if the ready made limbs do not suffice, then they’ll make a custom limb. Even making a custom limb only takes about two hours. The whole ordeal is astonishingly quick and easy.
RatnaNidhi is not just a nonprofit: it is at the forefront of innovation in biomedical technology. It is a bustling charity organization just skirting the definition of a small business, bringing major impact and technological advance directly into the hands of the poor with complete disregard for the humdrum languor of cubicles and outsourcing. Their hands on, close-knit efforts prove that macroscopic change can be made through the grassroots.
As innovation drives forward, prices soar. The prices will, of course, come down in the many years to come. But even then, many of the greatest technological advances are left as just that—an economic good or commodity, its value left to be determined by the market. But when it comes to prosthetic limbs, their status as economic goods can do social harm. RatnaNidhi recognizes that full mobility is a right, not a privilege.