The Helping Hands Program, brought to Australia’s shores by Matt Henricks has seen 411 prosthetic hands built for less fortunate people and over 100 more have already been ordered.
48 Australian companies have been involved so far and the response has been very encouraging.
“One of our goals with this project was to build 1000 prosthetic hands to distribute to landmine victims by the end of 2013. We are now halfway towards achieving that target and it is incredibly satisfying to see how much Australian companies have embraced our program. With over 100 million active land mines all over the world this is one of the major global challenges of our time and this program is making a small but important difference”, said Matt Henricks, Founder the Helping Hands Program, Australia and Director of Henricks Consulting.
The Helping Hands Program is a unique team building and experiential learning activity which can be used with groups of any size, normally in a corporate environment. Although the activity only takes a couple of hours, participants go on quite a journey. Initially, they are given an opportunity to experience what it must be like to lose a limb (by having one of their hands bound). Then, they build a working prosthetic hand with their team-mates and decorate the container that the hand is shipped in. Finally, the activity culminates with each participant having an opportunity to strap on and write with the hand they have made. In that way, each participant doesn’t only get a chance to make an incredible difference to someone’s life, but they also have an opportunity to experience how amazing this life-giving gift is for recipients.
Once the activity is completed a range of stringent checks are performed prior to shipping the hands to the parts of the world where they are most needed.
Matt Henricks even visited Cambodia recently to personally ‘hand out’ 50 hands to children who had lost their hands.
“Seeing people of all ages lift a spoon to their mouth to eat cereal, hold a pen in their hand for the first time in many years or be able to ride a bike like their friends, was incredible. The sheer joy on their face of being able to perform such normal and simple tasks made being a part of this program completely worthwhile.
“Together, we have changed the lives of 500 people and I can’t wait for Australians to surpass our 1000 hand goal later this year,” Henricks concluded.
So far a wide range of groups have gotten involved in this unique opportunity including organisations such as Siemens, American Express and the Reserve Bank of Australia. A number of charities such as the Catholic Church and World Vision have taken their employees through the program as well. Even a number of kids have been involved with two separate high schools answering the call to get involved.
This activity is a rare opportunity for employees to experience a deep sense of connection with their work and is far more than just a nice thing to do. So far companies have used the activity to great effect in a variety of ways; as part of their leadership training, to help accelerate large-scale change and to improve team effectiveness.
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