This grandmother is building bridges for the disabled, one Lego brick at a time

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Rita Ebel is on a mission to make everything awesome for the disabled using Lego bricks. (Photo:
Rita Ebel is on a mission to make everything awesome for the disabled using Lego bricks. (Photo:

Lego bricks may provide hours of entertainment for kids around the world, but granny Rita Ebel is using the popular plastic toy bricks to build brightly coloured wheelchair-friendly ramps to give the disabled better access to public spaces.

She has been wheelchair-bound since she was involved in a car crash 26 years ago and “I know how it feels to be in front of a store and not be able to enter it”, she says.

Rita Ebel creates wheelchair ramps with legos
Rita has completed 50 ramps since the start of her journey to help the disabled. (Photo:

Rita (65), who is from Hanau in Germany, took matters into her own hands after reading about a woman who built wheelchair ramps from Lego bricks. She reached out to her for advice and soon got to work building her own. “We fine-tuned the instructions a little, we even extended them,” Rita says.

“We don’t only build two-lane ramps like this woman originally built them, we also build one-lane ramps for pedestrians.” 

It takes Rita and her husband, Wolfgang, nearly three hours and eight bottles of glue to meticulously stack 8 000 Lego bricks to build a ramp. The couple build their ramp using donated Legos. 

“Every piece needs to be glued, so the ramp is stable enough for the heavier electric wheelchairs,” Wolfgang says.

Rita Ebel creates wheelchair ramps with legos
A local guest house called Bopp‘sche Schmiede in Langenselbold Germany were excited to have a customised ramp made by Rita. (Photo:

His wife has been dubbed the “Lego grandma” in Germany, where her colourful ramps are being used outside stores. 

Now, a school in the US and the tourism association in Spain are keen on using her low-budget wheelchair-friendly ramps. But Rita isn’t letting all the hype get to her head.

“For me, it’s just about trying to sensitise the world a little bit to barrier-free travel,” she says.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()