The boundries of what it means to be disabled
UHtein Lin, a basketball trainer for people with physical disabilities, has been confined to a wheelchair since the age of three, when he was struck with debilitating polio. As he spends most of his day in his wheelchair, he knows how exhausted one can become by pushing this rudimentary vehicle for hours on a hot day. It is time-consuming and exhausting, he says.
To address the issue, U Htein Lin improvised in 2010 a motorised wheelchair out of used motor cycle wheels and a motor from a motorcycle. After years of trial and error, he perfected his motor-wheelchair which he now uses. It can travel at up to 45 miles per hour.
“Through simple trial and error, and then making adjustments, I developed my motor-wheelchair to be fully functional,” explained U Htein Lin. “Like a car, it can go back and go forth,” he added.
It is believed that he is the first person in the country to have improvised a motorised wheelchair. His motor wheelchair model is widely used by disabled flower merchants and lottery ticket sellers in Yangon.
“I buy accessories at motorcycle shops and assemble the wheelchairs by myself with the help of my pupil, who also contracted polio and is now disabled.” he said.
U Htein Lin’s motor wheelchair has many accessories; You can even charge your phone on the go.
As a revolution in the daily life of physically disabled people, his invention is now being ordered from across the country. For instance, a wheelchair user from Kawthaung, on the southern tip of Myanmar, has ordered a customised motorwheelchair that will be shipped to him. U Htein Lin’s prices range from K350,000 to K550,000, depending on desired motor strength.
“I check with the customer what kind of disability he has and his body size. I make custom pieces to fit the client.” he explained.
Beyond being an innovator, U Htein Lin is also a sportsman. His passion for physical activity started as a teenager. He started racing on his manual wheelchair after finding a job with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.
“As I was skilled at sports, the ministry encouraged me to focus on that.” he added.
As a disabled athlete, he brought home medals as a wheelchair racer in the Paralympics games hosted in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and China.
In 2015, he started working for the Ministry of Health and Sports and finds time to do wheelchair basketball training.
“I have so many medals that they can fill a basket!” he joked.
To inquire about ordering a custom motorised wheelchair, contact U Htein Lin at 09420055224.
U Htein Lin.