The Indian company Jaipur Foot provides world-class artificial limbs, rehabilitation aids and other appliances to physically challenged individuals living in poverty and don’t charge the beneficiary even a single rupee for it. Social entrepreneurship at its best!
About Jaipur Foot
Jaipur Foot is a non-profit social enterprise with 20 staff across India and services 65,000 patients each year, 20,000 of whom require new leg and feet replacements. The remaining 45,000 require crutches, wheelchairs, hand-peddled tricycles and other aids. This makes Jaipur Foot a global leader in prosthetic science, production and manufacturing as well as surgical in its fiscal discipline. In addition, they distribute their products to another 25 countries.
The company was founded in 1975 with less than US$10,000 budget and is now operating with an annual budget of US$3.5mio. It is funded by government support (30%), donations (60%) and earned income (10%). The whole marketing of Jaipur Foot is closely tied to their culture of accountability and the high quality of their products. Both donors and governments want to know whether their money is being used for intended purposes and in the most efficient and effective way possible. Therefore, the organization’s steady growth is rooted in rigid expenditure policies and cent-by-cent accounting coupled with a suite of incredibly cheap, world-renown prosthetics, aids and appliances.
Jaipur Foot’s $45 ultramodern prosthetic is simply unmatched when compared to a similar $12,000 limb produced in the United States. The Jaipur Knee is made of self-lubricating, oil-filled nylon and is both stable and flexible. Comparable devices produced in other countries generally include a titanium replacement which can cost $10,000 or more. What sets Jaipur Foot’s products apart is their lightness and mobility and those that wear the limbs can even run, climb trees and ride bicycles. The new knee replacement was developed in cooperation with Stanford University and costs a mere $20. For this great achievement, the Times Magazine named it one of the 50 best inventions in the world. Devendra Raj Mehta, head of the Jaipur Foot team, believes that “Too often the NGO sector relies solely on sentiment. We need to marry sentiment with science.” – and they are definitely very successful in doing exaclty this!