A Helping Hand

Melvin Enmanuel Cruz Molina, Honduras, Global UGRAD 2015-16, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

Melvin had a successful exchange experience in the United States. He got good grades, made good friends, and experienced a wide breadth of what the U.S. has to offer. However, it was one class in particular that changed Melvin’s life: 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing.

In this class, Melvin was introduced to 3D Printing Technology. Still a relatively new field, its possibilities have yet to be fully explored. Melvin recognized this immediately and fixated upon an idea: creating inexpensive prosthetics for those in need back home in Honduras.

Prosthetics are typically quite expensive, but 3D printing offers the ability to create quality products at a fraction of the price. Upon returning to Honduras, Melvin and his team of nine (which includes fellow Global UGRAD alumni Jimmy Ramos, Grecia Romero, and Johanny Amaya) started Project Guala: Manos en Accion.

Project Guala (which means “hand” in the native Honduran Lenca language) has many goals, but first and foremost is the development of partnerships and initiatives to help those in need of prosthetics. Guala has already developed relations with similar organizations in the U.S., like e-NABLE, and Po Paraguay in South America. Through a GoFundMe Campaign, Melvin and his team were able to secure the funding for a 3D printer in just three days.

Through its partnerships, Guala was able to develop its first prototype – a prosthetic hand for one of Melvin’s classmates, Marco, who was born with a hand deformity. In July 2016, they presented this prosthetic to Marco, who will test and evaluate it in order to provide valuable feedback for future versions of the model.

This first version of the prosthetic was met with great acclaim, so much so that Melvin and the rest of the team were presented with a Youth Award in the field of Science and Technology and personally recognized by the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández.



Melvin and the rest of the team have high hopes for the future and show no signs of slowing down – they recently built their own version of a 3D printer from parts they acquired online. Melvin stated that he is planning to finish his electrical engineering degree so he can continue to improve upon Project Guala, and hopes to provide the maximum benefit possible to those in need in Honduras.

Check out their Facebook Page for updates!

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