Rotary Runner Wheelchairs are Reused Bicycles

A customer at the reuse centre, where I spend my daylight hours, wanted to know if we had any bicycle frames that no-one wanted. He needed them to make wheelchairs. Huh? "Tell me more" I then discovered a project, that still brings a lump to my throat. Des La Rance was aware that "thousands of impoverished and disabled adults and children around the world have to drag themselves around on the ground using their hands, some with a small piece of carpet tied to their legs. Causes of their disabilities include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, polio and land mines." Des is a member of Rotary International, a global network of community volunteers and he decided to harness the talents of the network to alleviate some of the suffering for these people. So he designed a low cost ($100 AUD) wheelchair, that is made from reclaimed bicycle frames and wheels. Over 3,000 have been assembled and exported to Vietnam, Vanuatu, East Timor, Fiji, India and Cambodia. "To reach children in Chernobyl in the Ukraine the wheelchairs had to be smuggled across a border." This is all volunteer work and it requires about 3 persons "about 25 hours to make up 20 kits" The gentleman pictured above, Jim Bullen, makes about 12 wheelchairs a fortnight. Jim is 85 years old and still using his time productively. (I wonder what he thinks of binge drinking teenagers, who complain "well, there is nothing else to do.") ::Rotary Runner Wheelchairs

But not stopping to pat themselves on the back, Des and his team have now embarked on a project that is creating low cost ($8,500 AUD) tropical housing for up to 7 people. Designed to be erected in 3 days by semi-skilled labour and provide cooling without air conditioning, while also being resistant to cyclonic winds. These guys are inspirational. ::Sunrise House

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