ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A local biomedical engineer is getting ready to embark on a trip to Tanzania, Africa to create prosthetic limbs for children.

This is Kyle Reeser’s second time in a third-world country. His first visit was in 2019.

“At the end of next week, my friend Chris Conlon and I are traveling to Musoma in Tanzania, which is in the northern part of Tanzania, on the shores of Lake Victoria, and it’s a wonderful community of people,” Reeser said.

Reeser has a few colleagues that are in the prosthetics and orthotics business in Musoma, which is where he is going to start a ‘pay what you can’ prosthetics and orthotics clinic, called TABASAMU, which means ‘smile’ in Swahili.

“We’re going to donate several lower limb prosthetics to children in need,” Reeser said. “We’re going to 3D print upper limb prosthetics for a young girl.”

Reeser, who has a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, is a brand ambassador for Creality, a 3D printer company. His journey with 3D printing began when he was in grad school.

“My main focus was 3D bio-printing, so took off-the-shelf 3D printers and converted them so they could 3D print cells and organs in the lab, and that kind of spurred getting interested in 3D printing prosthetic devices,” Reeser said. “In the US, prosthetic devices can run $10,000-$30,000, and in other countries around the world, it’s less expensive, but it’s still out of reach for people in developing countries.”

Reeser said with the promise of 3D printing, they can develop a 3D model in a computer program and then print it off, allowing them to create a prosthetic for just a couple of dollars.

“I’m a member of the local nonprofit e-NABLE, which was started by Jon Schull here in Rochester, New York. It’s got members all over the world and through e-NABLE, I have traveled in the past to Tanzania to do 3D printed prosthetics.”

On this upcoming trip to Tanzania, Reeser plans to donate 3D printers to the Lake Victoria Disability Centre and TABASAMU. He also plans to host 3D printing educational training for residents, donate four prosthetic legs to children, create and donate a prosthetic arm to another child, and treat babies who have clubfoot.

“Unfortunately, in Musoma specifically, there are babies with clubfoot., it’s got a higher prevalence of clubfoot than in other areas of the world, so 3D-printed orthotic devices are well needed,” Reeser said.

“Sometimes a child can grow up with one or no legs because they can’t get a prosthetic device, so going just for a couple of dollars, we can produce a life-changing prosthetic for these children.”

During his trip, Reeser will also be providing a food party event for 150 community members.

“Food Insecurity is unfortunately tough in certain developing countries and so I was fortunate enough to receive $10,000 from the 3D printing company Creality to do this humanitarian event,” Reeser said. “I built into that proposal through Creality, a certain amount of money for prosthetics, a certain amount of money for education, and a certain amount of money to pay a group of women, a group of eight women, to put on this food events for 150 members of the community, and it’s just my way of giving back and saying thank you for having me.”

Reeser said the group of eight women will be paid an equivalent of about two weeks’ average income for their work in making the community meal.

To fund his week-long trip, Reeser was awarded a $3,000 grant through e-NABLE to open TABASAMU. He also raised money through a GoFundMe with the help of his friend, Conlon.

Reeser currently works as an engineer at Baush and Lomb.