About this project
We've designed a revolutionary wheelchair for people in developing countries.
Safariseat gives people independence, unlocking access to education, employment and a life beyond the confines of their own home.
We’ve put all our resources into getting this far - now we need your support, to develop the open source toolkit and begin manufacture with local workshops in Kenya to make as many SafariSeats as possible.
Join us, and help people like Letu discover independence.
We are Uji, a social enterprise team determined to make a difference. Our mission is to design tools that help people lift themselves out of the poverty cycle.
Janna grew up in Kenya alongside local Kenyans. He was a child when he first met Letu, a man disabled by polio, living an isolated, traditional lifestyle.
Years later when studying design at university, an accident confined Janna to a wheelchair for three months. As his independence disappeared and he experienced the frustration of immobility, Janna found new perspective on Letu, and his daily struggle to fulfill life’s most 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 to develop SafariSeat.
Janna co-founded Uji with Cara O’Sullivan, James Seers & Bertie Meyer - we share the desire to use our skills to help those in need.
Cara is the industrial designer behind an innovative, open source evolvable walking aid for people in developing countries.
James is a design engineer who has carried out pioneering research into fossil fuel alternatives (see Berglar).
Bertie specialises in interaction design, with a background in psychology and neuroscience.
This campaign isn’t just about the product. We plan to make the design blueprints absolutely free and open source so SafariSeat can can have the biggest impact and help as many people as possible.
We have no wish to encourage a dependency culture, instead we want to help people to help themselves.
By creating a pictographic construction manual which transcends language barriers, we will enable any basic workshop to build low cost SafariSeats for their community. This will create local jobs in a self-sustaining industry.
This approach has the potential to help millions across the globe find their independence.
We want this project to be a collaboration between the citizens of the world. Open source design means anyone with the requisite skill set can contribute by improving the SafariSeat design, or modifying it for the specific needs of their locality.
SafariSeat is designed so that it can be made in basic workshops, using bicycle components. We did this to enable easy and affordable repair.
Charity donations of unsuitable wheelchairs are well intentioned - but often their repair requires specialist techniques and imported parts, so they quickly become redundant.
Local manufacture keeps costs low, and means the user can communicate directly with the manufacturer, enabling custom modifications where needed.
We’ve been collaborating with the fantastic folks at APDK Bombolulu who have contributed a wealth of expertise in local fabrication techniques, locally available materials and supply chain management.
APDK have a long running distribution network that will be used to deliver the first batch of SafariSeats.
When Janna briefly experienced life in a wheelchair, he realised there is no better way to comprehend a problem than to experience it first hand. We have applied this logic to our design process.
We start by understanding the specific problems facing the end user. To achieve this, we fully immerse ourselves in their lives.
We’ve spent months months living with Letu, and others with disabilities. We got to know them; at first understanding how they live, observing the hurdles they face; and later, revisiting them, using their feedback to hone and modify the design.
Imagine seeing the world through Letu's eyes. You're a prisoner in your own home. You can’t support your family. You can't earn a living. You feel helpless.
With SafariSeat, you can discover independence.
Thank you to Zach Montes for his work with Janna Deeble shooting the film in Kenya, to Helen Dufrense / Milgis Trust for the “Flute” music, to Indi Tch for his poetic translation, and everyone else who has helped along the way. This project was made possible by your generosity.
Risks and challenges
For the past 2 years we have been working in collaboration with organisations across developing regions of the world in order to understand what it takes to create sustainable businesses in such contexts.
The risks associated with backing this campaign are minimal since the rewards on offer have been selected for their low-risk fulfilment status.
We have well-established partnerships with local manufacturers which means we will be present to monitor every stage of production for the first batches of SafariSeat.
We are excited to share every step of our journey with you so please be sure to join us and spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. and thank you so much for supporting SafariSeat.
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