Zazzle Shop

Screen printing

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Man to Travel 200 Miles in Solar-Powered Wheelchair

by Stephen Messenger

solar-powered wheelchair photo Photo via The National

Chances are, you haven't heard of Haidar Taleb yet, but he's on a mission to inspire the world. On Monday, the disabled 47-year-old from the UAE is set to embark on a record-breaking 200 mile voyage across the desert in a solar-powered wheelchair he designed and built himself. "With this journey I hope to raise awareness of disability and sustainability as well as what we can achieve as individuals if we have the courage and determination to try," he says.

For Haidar, who has been confined to a wheelchair since he was diagnosed with polio at the age of four, this scheduled 11-day journey is aimed at touting the wonders of technological innovation and the unrelenting determination of the human spirit -- particularly for those who may face mobility challenges similar to his own.

"I want to send out a message to disabled people that there are no obstructions. Whatever you think about, you can do," he says. "Give disabled people a chance and they can perform miracles."

Along the 200 mile trip across all seven emirates, Haidar plans to stop at schools, universities, and centers for the disabled to share his inspiring message, reports Gulf News. And, by the time his ambitious trek is completed on December 2, he will have broken the record for distance traveled in a solar-powered wheelchair -- a record he set himself just two weeks ago.

solar-powered-wheelchair-aw.jpg Earlier this month, Haidar earned his place in the Guinness Book of World Records for taking his specially-designed wheelchair on another adventure, cruising over 80 miles during a 14 hour trip from Abu Dhabi to Sharjah at speeds of around 12 mph. His endeavor was sponsored by UAE-based Madsar, an initiative aimed at advancing research into alternative energy solutions.

Despite the recognition he's garnering from the ambitious journeys and the eco-friendly device he helped pioneer, the impact of his sun-fueled procession extends far beyond the record books:

While crossing the finish line is the ultimate goal, the journey is equally as important. I want to show the world the advantage of a solar-powered wheelchair, and highlight the hope and encouragement it brings to people with reduced mobility.

As Haidar embarks on his record-breaking trip, with that big, bright sun overhead powering his innovative wheelchair along its ambitious journey, the keen observer just might be able to perceive that subtle glow of inspiration a bit closer to home.