THE BAMBOO WHEELCHAIR  STORY

The Birth of the Bamboo All Terrain Wheelchair BBW: “Through a discussion with our good friend and CEO of Classroom Of Hope (www.classroomofhope.org), Duncan Ward, we learnt of an unfortunate situation in North Lombok where a 12-year-old boy, Nasrudin had been left disabled by the recent earthquakes. As this boy had no wheelchair he sadly had to drag himself on the ground to get to school and we felt in our hearts that we had to find a solution for him. After brainstorming we chose to design and build a bamboo all terrain wheelchair using locally sourced bamboo and mountain-bike bicycle wheels which would be easy to source and repair in remote areas.”

WHO WE ARE

Bali Beach Wheels (PT Kereta Pantai Bali)

Bali Beach Wheels are the sole distributors and suppliers of Vipamat’s Hippocampe Wheelchairs in Indonesia.

Our mission is to make Bali and the surrounding islands of Indonesia accessible to everyone, whether disabled, injured or aged. Our vision is for everyone to be able to enjoy the beauty that Indonesia has to offer by bringing the Hippocampe Beach and All Terrain Wheelchair to the hotels and beach resorts across Indonesia.

This mission is very personal and close to our hearts, and because of this we not only want to accommodate the holiday-maker, but also the often forgotten, disabled children and adults of Indonesia who live in remote villages where the steep and rough terrain is not suitable for standard wheelchairs.

Eco Living Bali
(a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bali Beach Wheels)

Eco Living Bali is an eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle brand in Bali, Indonesia that provides eco-friendly and sustainable body, home and lifestyle products which are handmade from high quality, natural ingredients.

Their products are safe to use and gentle on the environment. What they cannot make themselves, they source from like-minded small, local businesses.
They aim to improve their impact on the environment by raising awareness around global issues which impact us daily such as plastic pollution and toxic, chemical products which are harmful to our health and the environment.

Bali Beach Wheels / Eco Living Bali are passionate about supporting initiatives that help charities in their community (and that are close to their hearts).

East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP)

The East Bali Poverty Project is an Indonesian non-profit NGO established by David Booth on 25th July 1998 in response to a plea for help by a forgotten village of more than 3,000 families living in 19 isolated communities scattered on the steep, sandy and dry volcanic ash slopes on Mount Agung and Mount Abang in East Bali.

The families lived in abject poverty without water, sanitation, roads, schools, health facilities or electricity. In partnership with the communities, EBPP focused on their priorities of: health care, education, water and road access. All were subsistence cassava and corn farmers but it was clear that bamboo was growing everywhere and David had a vision of establishing a social enterprise for training the youth and farmers in bamboo skills to eventually have sustainable high added value bamboo businesses.

EBPP started their social enterprise, Vebacon, in late 2016 and East Bali Bamboo Bikes (EBBB) was the first venture, crafting not only incredible all terrain bikes but high-quality, bamboo products.

OUR STORY

The Birth of the Bamboo All Terrain Wheelchair

BBW: “Through a discussion with our good friend and CEO of Classroom Of Hope (www.classroomofhope.org), Duncan Ward, we learnt of an unfortunate situation in North Lombok where a 12-year-old boy, Nasrudin had been left disabled by the recent earthquakes. As this boy had no wheelchair he sadly had to drag himself on the ground to get to school and we felt in our hearts that we had to find a solution for him.

After brainstorming we chose to design and build a bamboo all terrain wheelchair using locally sourced bamboo and mountain-bike bicycle wheels which would be easy to source and repair in remote areas.”

Our collaboration with East Bali Bamboo Bikes

BBW: “Having followed the amazing work of the EBPP team, we decided to reach out to David who invited us for a meeting. We met with David and Deni Nugraha and explained our vision and dream, the potential for bamboo all terrain wheelchairs. – David and Deni were extremely excited and said they would look into this straight away.”

https://www.eastbalipovertyproject.org
https://www.eastbalibamboobikes.com

David Booth’s Story (EBPP)

“Imagine my surprise – and adrenalin rush – when I got an email enquiry via our East Bali Bamboo Bikes (EBBB) social enterprise website from Brad Moreland on 31st October 2018 asking if we could build a bamboo wheelchair for disabled children! We’d been asked before and our response was a definitive “Yes we can!”, but on that occasion it was – just asking!

But this was the real thing! I immediately contacted Deni Nugraha, our bamboo bike designer and master builder, who directly started online research in preparation for discussion with the client. Brad came to our Denpasar office the following week with his wife Twoné and young disabled son in his very super-special beach wheelchair and asked if we could build something similar, but in bamboo, that afforded the same comfort, stability and flexibility of the expensive imported wheelchair.

That was when Deni’s grin got wider, as he was so passionate about creating anything in bamboo, especially incorporating laminated bamboo, his speciality, and he promptly got down with tape measure and note pad and meticulously examined all of the wheelchair details from front, side, back and underneath, with special attention to the wheels – especially the single anti-tip wheel – and the rear basket. With sketches prepared, Deni headed back to our East Bali Tianyar workshop to prepare a detailed and dimensioned concept design, which our volunteer French CAD engineer, Lovasoa, transformed into amazing 3-D prototype full colour illustrations. Brad was thrilled and immediately asked us to go ahead and create the final detailed design, from bamboo!

THE BUILD

A lot of research and planning went into this project in terms of realizing that each user’s individual physical characteristics and needs have to be taken into consideration when building a custom wheelchair in order to help improve the user’s independence, sense of participation and quality of life. Changes in wheelchair configuration can affect propulsion forces, range of motion of the upper limb joints, rolling resistance and system stability. Ultimately, all these aspects determine how easy or difficult it is to propel a wheelchair in everyday mobility. System stability and mobility performance are two inter-related variables; improving one has an impact on the other so we had to find a balance between stability and performance when designing the size of the chair, seat angel and dimensions, rear wheel’s vertical and horizontal position, wheel size and camber etc. to make it suitable for a wide range of users.

Our local team headed to the field to select and harvest the bamboo for the complex wheelchair frame and the laminated seat, backrest, foot rest and rear basket from their bamboo plantations on Mount Agung slopes in Ban village; and the bamboo wheelchair build began. Deni went around Denpasar to source materials and non-aluminium components, the two front and single central rear stabiliser wheel being the hardest to locate, but he struck ‘gold’ and got the last in stock from two different bicycle shops – whew!

The most important components are those that Deni designs, with meticulous to-scale sketches and then has them made in Bandung from aircraft grade aluminium, all of which are individually handmade to precise dimensions!

In the third week of March, the wheelchair was fully assembled, hand finished and protected with environmentally friendly lacquer and sealant, rigorous quality control checked, “road tested” and revealed to Brad and Twoné on 22nd March at our East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP) Denpasar office! Brad and Twoné loved it and we were all super proud of this, our most beautiful hand-built bamboo creation to date! And looking forward to getting on with the next ones!”
This was the birth of the first of its kind, all terrain bamboo wheelchair in South East Asia, perhaps even the world.

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP

We soon started to hear of many more stories where disabled children and adults have been neglected due to a lack of funding. These people have sadly never had the basic necessities such as a wheelchair and so, remain immobile and isolated at home in their villages. Since a standard wheelchair is not suitable for the rough and steep terrain of the remote villages in and around Indonesia, and because there is a known lack of supply of metal wheelchairs, we have made it our mission to build and supply bamboo wheelchairs to all those in need.

Bali Beach Wheels and Eco Living Bali have already funded the build of the first three bamboo wheelchairs: the prototype (currently on display in the Eco Living Bali shop in Kerobokan), the wheelchair for the 12-year-old boy in North Lombok (who initially propelled this vision), as well as a custom wheelchair for a 15-year-old boy named Macika, who is the son of one of the EBBB craftsmen from Ban Village who builds these bamboo all terrain wheelchairs. (Please see Macika’s story below as well as the link to the handover video).

Through our contacts and partners, we have established a list of all those in need in the surrounding region, and we now urgently require funding to build more bamboo all terrain wheelchairs.

Through our contacts and partners, we have established a list of all those in need in the surrounding region, and we now urgently require funding to build more bamboo all terrain wheelchairs.

As each wheelchair has its own serial number, every sponsor will receive a certificate and photos of the wheelchair made and delivered to the individual in need. For those who sponsor the full cost of an entire wheelchair, we will also place your name and/or logo on a bamboo plaque on the chair (as per picture below). With your permission and as a recognition of your kindness and generosity, we would also like to place your name on our websites along with the photos of the wheelchair delivery.

CONTACT

Please contact us if you as an individual, or your company (through your CSR program) wish to help any of the many children and adults in need of a bamboo all terrain wheelchair.

Bali Beach Wheels
www.balibeachwheels.com
info@balibeachwheels.com
IG: Bali Beach Wheels
+62 87765085810

Eco Living Bali
www.ecolivingbali.com
info@ecolivingbali.com
IG: Eco Living Bali
+62 87765085812

Our First Hand Over to Nengah Macika

Story about Nengah Macika

15-year-old Nengah Macika lives in Cegi hamlet and is one of many severely disabled children raised by impoverished but very loving parents in Desa Ban on the steep, arid and sandy volcanic ash slopes of Mounts Agung and Abang in East Bali. When Nengah was born, he was a typical, healthy baby. At 3 months of age developed a high fever, accompanied by seizures and almost lost his life.

Once his fevers broke and the seizures had stopped, his life had changed forever and he was never the same again. Since then, Nengah has grown up with many physical limitations, in which his growth and development have been hampered because ofparalysis and spasticity in most of his limbs and body; his mobility is therefore limited. In addition, he is also non-verbal and cannot communicate with his family.

But his father and mother did not give up, with their unconditional love in taking care of him and looking for help whenever an opportunity arose.

Before 2004, there were no health facilities available in Desa Ban and no public transport so when the EBPP established the posyandu (monthly mother-baby health posts) in Cegi, his parents brought him there hoping there may be a solution. The local doctors gave no hope but in 2005, EBPP found a volunteer professional massage therapist and Nengah was one of the twelve disabled children at that time who were given routine physiotherapy and whose parents and EBPP health team were trained on how to follow the procedures daily at home. Whilst some of the children showed remarkable improvement over time, sadly, Nengah’s response was very limited.

Handover Video: