Low cost, open-source, all terrain; a wheelchair that can be made in local workshops with bicycle parts.
- SafariSeat is a wheelchair designed for people in developing countries. It’s low cost, all-terrain and open source.
- SafariSeat can be made in basic workshops using bicycle parts, which makes it easy to repair.
- Where sand replaces pavement, SafariSeat helps people with disabilities lead independent lives.
SafariSeat launched their crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter on 19th October, to raise money to build as many chairs as possible, and develop an open source manual. Local workshops can then use the manual to make SafariSeats for their communities
SafariSeat designer, Janna Deeble grew up in Kenya. He was a child when he first met Letu, a Samburu man disabled by polio, living an isolated, traditional lifestyle with his family in the wilderness. Letu had been disabled since birth, with no access to healthcare, suitable wheelchairs or any of the assistance much of the world takes for granted. To move, Letu had to crawl; he was totally dependent on others.
Janna didn’t understand the reality of Letu’s situation until, as a design student, he had an accident that left him wheelchair-bound for months. As his independence disappeared, he thought of Letu and his daily struggle to fulfil life’s basic needs.
In East Africa alone, 1 in every 200 people lives in need of a wheelchair, imprisoned by their disability. Determined to help, Janna returned to Kenya in 2015 to develop SafariSeat.
SafariSeat climbs over rough ground like no other wheelchair. It uses a simple, patented mechanism that mimics car suspension, ensuring all the wheels remain on the ground at all times for maximum stability.
The SafariSeat campaign is about enabling communities to help themselves. Janna plans to make the blueprints absolutely free, as part of an open source toolkit that will enable workshops to make SafariSeats for their community – to help people with disabilities and create local, sustainable employment.
SafariSeat has already allowed Letu to discover his independence and teach his son what it means to be a Samburu. With SafariSeat, Janna hopes many others will be able to experience the same freedom.
Since launching the campaign, SafariSeat has managed raise the original goal in record time and show little sign of slowing down. With the extra money raised the team will build more wheelchairs and set up new workshops and a disability outreach program to get SafariSeat to people in the most remote areas of East Africa.
SafariSeat is the first project from Uji, a social enterprise company determined to make a difference. Their goal is to design tools that help people break free from the poverty cycle. The Uji philosophy is to help people help themselves – to avoid a culture of dependency, by operating on open-source principles.
To support the Kickstarter campaign visit