Undeniably, living with disability can be challenging and comes with its own difficulty.

It is even worse when the disability comes as a result of an amputation, thus taking away ones independence and making them co-dependent on other people for even the most basic needs.

Sibongile Mongadi is that light at the end of the tunnel for amputees. She is bringing a beacon of hope by producing prosthetics for these amputees, to give them a better life and restore their independence and dignity.

She got into the prosthetics production sphere when she had a close interaction with an amputee in Johannesburg. That singular encounter instilled in her, that drive to make a positive impact and improve the quality of life for amputees by giving them back their independence and individuality.

It was easy for Sibongile to launch as there’s an available market for her prosthetics. The existing demand exceeds the supply a great deal and there’s also the cost factor that makes it too expensive for the less privileged.

She discovered 3D printing technology can be used to meet the needs of amputees, in a cost-effective manner while also using affordable environmentally friendly material. And the result is, aesthetically appealing, affordable, water resistant Prosthetics.

Raised by uneducated parents in a family of 8, siblings, Sibongile is a firm believer and preacher that your background should not determine your future. You should not live in the past, and in every challenge you are faced with, you should be enabled.

Sibongile is the founder of Uku’hamba (Pty) Ltd, the company responsible for the production of these lightweight prosthetics. She has won several awards and received recognitions for her work. Some of the awards include The Africa Female Innovator of the Year Finalist 2019.

Cherry Blossom Intimates, a Black-owned boutique in the Washington, D.C. metro area, is the first-ever lingerie and medical custom prosthetics store for breast cancer survivors and women in general. Founded by Jasmine Jones and Dr. Regina Hampton, the store is unique because they carry a thoughtful collection of oncology products, supportive services, and intimate wear that is not typically found under one roof

Jones, a beauty queen and Miss District of Columbia USA 2016, serves as the chief operating officer for Cherry Blossom Intimates. Breast cancer survivors are close to her heart as she herself has lost her grandmother to the disease.

“I remember her having to go and shop for prosthetic pieces that didn’t properly fit and only came in one color while store employees stuffed her behind a curtain to try them on,” Jones said in an interview. “It got to the point where after a while, my grandmother just stopped wearing them all together… They didn’t fit or make her feel beautiful.”

Learning about her grandmother’s experiences is what led her to do something to help make cancer survivors feel beautiful and “to be able to do it with dignity and comfort.”

Dr. Regina Hampton, a Howard University alumna, with over 10 years in practice, one of the few breast care surgeons in Prince George’s County and one of the founders of Southeast D.C.’s Breast Care for Washington, was the one who came up with the vision. She described her collaboration with Jones in Cherry Blossom Intimates as a “dream come true.”

“Women should be able to feel empowered every day by what they have on, from outer garments to lingerie — and breast cancer survivors are no exception,” Hampton said in an interview. “I mean at our store we have shapewear, push up bras, wireless bras, lace and everything in between.”

Aside from those lingerie products, the breast care store also offers chest wall graphs that mimic natural breast for prosthetics as well as nipple coverings in different skin tones and bra sizes from AA to size Q. The store is made for everybody — from cancer survivors to young girls — and “will for the first time, allow girlfriends with or without breast cancer to laugh and shop together.”

The boutique also plans to provide medical in-house billing for all types of insurance for their products and alternative to those without appropriate coverage.

“Being able to help other people is so important and it makes you feel so good,” Hampton said. “I just want to show women that they are all beautiful no matter the package and make them believe it.”

Source: Black Business