Dr Sarah Meanley - a pioneer for prosthetics in Nepal
Sarah went home to be with her Lord on the evening of Tuesday 31 October 2017 having been ill with cancer for many months.
Sarah qualified with a PhD in Bioengineering. For years she felt that God was calling her to work with leprosy patients in Nepal, but she could not see how her doctorate could be relevant. Determined to pursue her vision, Sarah travelled to India where she researched the use of orthopaedic appliances for leprosy patients, training herself in the process.
In 1987 Sarah was seconded to INF from Tearfund, and she found her niche at Green Pastures Hospital in Pokhara. During the 10 years she was there, Sarah was instrumental in setting up the Orthopaedic Appliance Centre which opened in 1988.
Sarah was now convinced that she was in the place God wanted her to be. Using the knowledge gained in India, she created prosthetics from locally-sourced materials, even using tyres. Her aim was to make orthotics and special shoes that wouldn’t stand out, so that patients didn’t suffer so much social stigma. Her friend and colleague, Naomi Reed recalls, “Sarah designed the first above-knee prosthesis in the country, made solely of local materials, including old bike parts and film canisters. I watched on in wonder.”
Life After Nepal
After leaving Nepal, Sarah returned to the West Midlands where she worked at the Selly Oak Rehabilitation Centre as a Senior Orthotist. But her passion for INF’s work didn’t diminish, and she was a member of the INF/UK Board from 2000 to 2003. She was also an enthusiastic fundraiser at her church and workplace for the work at Green Pastures.
Sarah met her final illness with the same fortitude she displayed throughout her life. Her long-term friend Alison Anderson, who has spent much time caring for Sarah in these last few months, and was with her as she passed away said, “it was a privilege to be able to walk with her all the way Home”.