Wings to fly: Making transport accessible for the differently-abled

Published: June 2, 2016
Competitors designed user-friendly cycles for the physically disabled for NOWPDP’s competition. PHOTO: PRESS RELEASE

Competitors designed user-friendly cycles for the physically disabled for NOWPDP’s competition. PHOTO: PRESS RELEASE

KARACHI: With the aim to provide better mobility to differently-abled people, Taufeeq Elahi Diju designed Orbit 3, which will be sold at an affordable price.

Diju, who participated in the ‘accessible cycle design challenge’ organised by the Network Of Organisations Working with People with Disabilities, Pakistan (NOWPDP), hails from Abbotabad and is an engineer and product designer by profession.

‘No help for one of world’s largest disabled populations’

To recognise the designs and spread awareness about the need for accessible transport for differently-abled people, NOWPDP organised an event, ‘Moving People Changing Minds’, on Thursday and also awarded participants with the best designs.

Diju won the award for most accessible cycle design for differently-abled people, beating 58 designs by 157 participants from all over the country.

Speaking about the idea to find solutions for differently-abled people, NOWPDP rickshaw project manager Amin Andani said the idea for the challenge came from a girl named Mehak who lives in Baldia Town. She was unable to walk and crawls to the nearest market to sell home-made items to earn money for her mother.

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“When NOWPDP’s team spoke to her, we found out that she was not born differently-abled, her hip bone slipped because she fell down from the stairs two years ago,” he explained, adding that problems are not bigger than solutions. “We now have 58 solutions with us for differently-abled people within three months,” he said.

Of all the designs which were submitted by students and professionals, the 30 best designs were displayed for the audience, while two of them managed to win awards, one for most innovative design and the other for most accessible design.

Diju’s design, ‘Orbit3’, will cost around Rs12,000 and can be used for travel or work purposes. “I have made a hook at the back of the cycle so it can turn into a cart also which can help the person earn money if they need to,” he explained. He received a prize of Rs200,000 for his design.

No money for persons with disabilities

The award for most innovative design was won by a four-member team from National University of Science and Technology, Karachi. Ahsan Iftikhar, Bayan Mashrequi, Daim Ali and Danish Haider’s design titled ‘Yellow’ managed to win Rs100,000. “The idea for Yellow came from rowing,” said Iftikhar, adding that hands are made to pull, not to cycle. He also said told that the cost of their cycle is Rs9,180, which is affordable.

Another member of the team, Ali said that differently-abled persons do not need to turn their hand to move ‘Yellow’ but only have to tilt their body to turn the cycle left or right. “It is designed to make mobility easy for differently-abled persons,” he said.

NOWPDP also appreciated the efforts of one of the participants, Imran Ghanchi who is differently-abled, and awarded him a special certificate for his design. “The cycle which I made is a cycle-cum-wheelchair-cum-cabin,” he told The Express Tribune, adding that his model can be folded from the front and changed into a wheel chair while the seat can be turned around to make it a cabin where one can sell items.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2016.

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