14/11/2012 by Sarah Ritchie
Sir Edmund Hillary was one of the world’s best examples of “never say it can’t be done”. Following humbly in those noble ideological footsteps walk two Israeli men – entrepreneur Nimrod Elmish and automation expert Izhar Gafni of I.G. Cardboard Technologies.
Nimrod and Izhar took the world by storm with Izhar’s original idea of building a bicycle from durable recycled cardboard and recycled tyres for less than US$20 (see video, below). Now they have quietly done it again, but this time with a cardboard wheelchair made of less than US$10 worth of materials.
Elmish says: “Anything that you make out of wood, plastic or metal can be made out of our material. Cardboard bikes, wagons, wheelchairs, chairs for airplanes or trains, toys, even cars. We’re not building cars yet. But I say ‘yet’. We believe that nothing is impossible and anything is possible.”
You can read the full, inspiring story here at www.israel21c.org (28Oct12).
The inspiration pours over us on two distinct levels. First is the technological level with the sheer brilliance of the wheelchair (and bicycle) construction out of cardboard and recyclable materials. The second, and what is truly exciting, is the way they will be able to utilise their products to address significant problems in developing nations. Their journey has experienced a swingshift from humble technical achievement to humanitarian opportunity. When the product could’ve remained purely as a revenue-gatherer, the makers have chosen a different path.
From the israel21c.org article: The Israeli mindset played an important role, [Elmish] adds: “The thinking of the resources, the social model, the thinking behind employing disabled people, the thinking of giving back to the community.”
What a great life example we have in the journey of these two men. We learn (as Elmish says) that “we can always find a solution – you just need persistence and patience”. We learn that what others may say is “impossible” may actually not be. We learn that seemingly insurmountable social issues can be addressed by resourceful people from unlikely places. And we learn that one person, from a humble home, in a tiny nation, can truly make a difference in this world. That person may be you. Go for it!