Joe Botica, 15, working on the 12 all-terrain wheelchairs.
Joe Botica, 15, working on the 12 all-terrain wheelchairs. Sarah Steger

Students make wheelchairs to send to Third World countries

STUDENTS of Chanel College Interact Club are changing the lives of people they have never met.

Gladstone children aged 13 to 17 are working with the Bikes to Wheelchairs Project to transform 12 people's lives by giving them all-terrain wheelchairs.

The project addresses the ongoing problem of mobility many Third World people with disabilities have.

"People in these countries haven't got smooth roads or paths, which means they're stuck in their homes," student Joe Botica, 15, said.

The school receives bikes dumped in Gladstone, the students pull them apart.

"It's a lot of work but it's going to transform lives in Asia," Joe said.

Each of the 12 wheelchairs is made from entirely recycled products.

The Rotary Club of Gladstone Sunrise provided the wood for each chair frame, which the students decorated with paintings of kangaroos and koalas.

"We don't have to paint the frames but we've put in the extra effort to make them pretty because we can," Joe said.

"People in these countries just don't have mobility so this will be a real game- changer for them."

The Bikes to Wheelchairs Project is the first of the Interact Club's project.

"We started up in July. This is a really good first idea," Joe said.

"Twelve people can leave their house now."