The 2013 World of Children Award Honorees

C. Mead Welles

C. Mead Welles

A Leg To Stand On »
2013 Health Award
Afghanistan, Africa, Asia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Middle East, Nepal, Pakistan, Somaliland, South America, Southeast Asia


In the late 1990s, C. Mead Welles was sitting outside at a restaurant in Indonesia when three underfed and exhausted boys passed by. Two pulled a rope tied to a garbage can lid and a third boy sat on the lid. His leg was deformed, raw and bleeding; he could not stand on it any longer. His knuckles were in the same condition, indicating that he had been pulling himself around on the lid. Paralyzed with sadness for the boy, Mead vowed to dedicate his life to helping children without limbs.

He flew home and started A Leg To Stand On (ALTSO), an organization that provides free prosthetic limbs, orthopedic devices, mobility aids, corrective surgery and rehabilitative care to children in the developing world who have lost their limbs in traumatic accidents or suffer from congenital disabilities. Since 2002, ALTSO has transformed the lives of over 11,000 children and currently operates 11 programs in 10 developing countries.

The Process of Helping a Child with a Limb Disability

Ability CampaignThe free orthopedic care that ALTSO provides is carefully planned for each child in need. Follow-up appointments are critical to ensure the child is receiving the lasting change they need to live a self-sufficient life. When children are given prosthetic limbs, ALTSO continues to work with the child until they are 18, ensuring that their treatment is not a one-time “fix” but a permanent solution that adapts as the child grows.

Learn about limb disability »Give now »
Giving the Peace Sign at ALTSOALTSO KidsALTSO Boy on crutchesALTSO childChild with new prosthetic legALTSO girl restingALTSO girl walkingALTSO gilr with cows


90% of disabled children in the developing world will never have the opportunity to access education, employment, marriage or live a self-sufficient life. Worldwide, the most common form of employment for disabled children is begging.


ALTSO gives children with limb disabilities the opportunity to lead independent lives.

TREATMENT: Children are referred to ALTSO by local doctors, educators, community leaders, family members or friends. Each patient receives an evaluation and free treatment for their condition

THERAPY: After treatment, children begin post-operative physical therapy and rehabilitation to ensure their long-term recovery. ALTSO’s goal is to provide every patient with high-quality continuous care until they turn 18.

TRAINING: ALTSO trains local medical professionals orthopedic surgical techniques, prosthetic design and rehabilitation practices to help bridge the gap in medical care between the developed and developing worlds.


Mead is using our funding to provide prosthetic limbs, orthopedic devices and mobility aids for 500 children with limb disabilities in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

Share Button

Prosthetics process for ALTSO

help a child walk for the first time

Are you inspired by this Honoree? Consider making a donation to help other changemakers improve the lives of children around the world:

Stay involved with issues facing children.
Enter your email to join our newsletter.

Close this window