Loading...
Arms for Arms
Now Watching
Arms for Arms

The Arms for Arms program is a unique recycling project, one that turns decommissioned weapons into prosthetic limbs for victims of conflict. This video tells the story of Elba Garcia, a Nicaraguan woman who lost an arm when she was caught in crossfire between Sandinistas and Contras. 

Flash Player 9.0.115+ or HTML5 video support is required to play this video.
Loading...

Produced by UN in Action.

Loading...

Share this video

Include start time Get current time
Include related videos, articles & actions
Loading...

Segment 1

VOICEOVER
Elba Garcia arrives at the World Rehabilitation Clinic in Honduras. It's a very special day for her. Two years ago she lost an arm. Selling goods along the border with Nicaragua, Elba got caught in a crossfire between Sandinistas and Contras. She's spent weeks at the clinic learning how to operate her prosthetic arm. So far, her story could be that of thousands of people receiving artificial limbs all over the globe. But Elba's new arm, like all the limbs produced here, are quite different from any other prosthesis in the world.
VOICEOVER
The peak of the Nicaraguan demobilization in April 1990. UN soldiers disarmed the Contras, destroyed their weapons, and sent the former resistance fighters back home to civilian life. Remaining was a mountain of useless weapons. The United Nations decided that the tools of devastation could be utilized to serve the process of peace and reconstruction. Ten tons of scrapped weapons were donated to the World Rehabilitation Fund to be turned into artificial limbs. The program Arms for Arms as part of the organization's work in 153 countries. The metal components of the weapons are ideal for use in prosthetic devices, says center director Mike McGee.
MIKE MCGEE
They have to be made of hardened steel. They have to be durable. They have to be usually of very high-quality materials, because they're going to take a lot of use and may be not be so well cared for, so that they have to be able to operate under any condition.
VOICEOVER
The donation has made it possible for the center to cut dramatically manufacturing costs for otherwise very expensive prosthesis. The scrapped metal has also helped speed up the production process. Parts of the guns can be taken out and used almost immediately with only minor adjustments. The rod from an AK-47 assault rifle is carefully re-shaped to become the hooks for Elba Garcia's arm. Therapy at the center is aimed not only at physical disabilities, but also at addressing the mental problems of civilians wounded in the wars in Central America. It's a special day because, after weeks of therapy, Elba finally graduates to receiving her own prosthesis, modeled exactly to replace the arm she lost. She's intrigued by the thought that she might be wearing spare parts from the very same weapon that caused her injury.
ELBA GARCIA
I can't help thinking that the rifle that wounded me also changed my life and gave me my new hand.
VOICEOVER
Elba signs out to a more comfortable life. She's told her family that she's bringing back an amazing toy. But that's not all she's taking home. At the center, she met Candido Monge, who was there to get an artificial leg. They're now planning to get married. This has been a report from the United Nations.