The Wheelchair Doctor, which was founded by Ernest Majenge, is being lauded for creating a wheelchair that will allow those who are chair-bound to access South African buildings that are not wheelchair-friendly.
Majenge created a wheelchair that can climb stairs. While many local buildings have a ramp for those with wheelchairs to make use of, there are still many that do not. Loadshedding is also another component to think about in disability-friendly buildings, as stairs are often the only way to get between floors when elevators do not work.
“We developed unique devices so that PRM can go up and down stairs while seated in a wheelchair, with an assistant who maintains the balance. The concept is based on wheels that are either circular when rolling, and that we transform into segmented wheels only when going upstairs. The PRM contributes to the propulsion by pulling on small handles fixed on each wheel,” he said, as reported by GoodThingsGuy.
Majenge was inspired to create the wheelchair when he saw how people with disabilities struggle with accessibility on a near-daily basis. He also saw children in wheelchairs that were so old, they should have been put away long ago. Thus, he started a wheelchair repair service, which completes repairs within 24 hours.
Once he perfected the prototype for the stair-climbing wheelchair, he set about trying to find investors who believed in his vision. Finally, he found an investor in France.
“It has been hard but we are making progress. And with every order we see a brighter future and believe that the innovation will just get better. I could not get anyone to believe in this and I did not believe it would even get this far. I knocked on every door you can imagine,” he said.
Majenge now has a staff of four people who help him make the wheelchair for customers.
“There is no other wheelchair like this… it’s proudly South African. I have patented it and we are coming up with more wheelchairs for different scenarios and areas, such as beaches, schools and old age homes, among others,” he said.
Picture: The Wheelchair Doctor/Facebook