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 (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.
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.
Sources: thephiladelphiacitizen.org, nowthisnews.com, https://www.youtube.com