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This clever designer is helping hard-up pensioners who struggle to walk – by turning old shopping trolleys into wheelchairs.
Graphics firm boss Apichai Inthutsingh had the idea after seeing elderly residents who could not afford wheelchairs struggle to get around in Bangkok, Thailand.
He began collecting old shopping carts which had been donated from supermarkets then turning them into wheelchairs – which he then hands out for free.
Caring Apichai has now helped hundreds of frail residents who would otherwise be stuck indoors to find a new lease of life.
He said: ‘’The whole project is something I do for free. It’s for elderly people who are really poor and who are no longer strong enough to walk around.
‘’In Thailand, people have to buy wheelchairs and that can be expensive for the elderly, especially if they have no relatives or the family is also poor.
‘’The shopping cart wheelchairs are comfortable and they allow the old and sick to go outside, where they can feel better about life.’’
Apichai and his team begin by cleaning the carts then chopping off the front section with a circular disc saw.
The front is folded down into a foot rest and the sides are also cut down and folded into arm rests.
Each trolley is then fitted out with soft cushions which provide comfortable padding for the new user.
When the mobility is device is ready, it is delivered in a truck to the recipient. The wheelchairs also comply with the country’s safety regulations.
Apichai added: ‘’I just want to share with society without any cost. We have no limits to the amount we can provide or how long we will do this.
‘’The carts would otherwise only be scrapped so supermarkets are happy to donate. We receive many requests from people who need wheelchairs so we will keep producing them.’’
Semi-developed Thailand has a government health system that provides care for locals but waiting lists are long and treatment poor.
Many residents, particularly the elderly, still cannot get access even to that, as they have never been enrolled in the health service or made social security payments through formal employment.