An orthopaedic workshop in Africa

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During the summer of 2017 Tommaso Mombelli spent a week at our shoe factory in Castell’Arquato to learn the basic principles necessary for making orthopaedic shoes and insoles.

Why? Thomas’s idea is to start an orthopaedic workshop in the Salesian Kidane Mehret mission hospital in Adwa, northern Ethiopia, where he works and where the Mary Help of Christians community has been active since 1987.
The aim is to produce tailored sandals and, over time, slippers and shoes for people who suffer from difficulty walking.

“Together with the Mission,” says Thomas “we reached out to several Italian companies to ask for assistance. Molinari responded immediately, teaching me the basic principles for making shoes. When in Adwa, Ethiopia, I’ll be able to use a foot mould to make personalised sandals for patients with walking difficulties.
It may seem trivial, but in Africa many people have trouble walking, many people don’t have shoes, but there are also a lot of people who can’t walk because they don’t have suitable footwear for their orthopaedic problems. I would like to thank Ivana Molinari for the opportunity,” concludes Tommaso “and for all the material he has donated to us so that we can create our own sandals.”

The workshop will start in January 2018 when the hospital opens, and Tommaso will also employ a local apprentice to train.

“To further assist the project,” says Tommaso, “it would be wonderful if a Brescia-based shoe factory could help us with some machinery, such as a grinder, a vacuum press for soles or a leather sewing machine.”

We are gladly spreading the word about Tommaso’s appeal in the hope that other shoe manufacturers will also take up his invitation. For our part, we are really proud to have been able to take part in this project and we wish Tommaso and the whole mission the very best of luck for the future.


 From newspaper of 14/09/22017.