Invention: Life-Saving Travois For Refugees

… His name is Chase Lewis and he’s a 13-year-old home schooled seventh grader from Chapel Hill. He’s invented a device to help famine victims carry their children on the often long and often grueling treks to refugee camps.

“Last summer my mom had some papers in her hand,” he says. “They were headlines from CNN about the famine in Somalia…she was talking about how parents were forced to leave their children by the roadside to die–because as they walked to the nearest refugee centers, where they could be provided with food, water and shelter, they were not able to carry all their malnourished children. So I thought, ‘well, this is horrible.’

“I decided there had to be some way to help them, and as I thought, I thought that I would be able to possibly help. I’m good with engineering for a kid my age, so I was thinking about it and my mind wandered to the travois, an invention of the Native American Plains Indians.”

A travois is a device that traditionally uses crossed teepee poles with canvas stretched across them, which people can drag behind them to carry anything from cargo to children. Chase created a modified version out of aluminum, a cargo net and a sheet. His version has wheels and a hip belt for women or shoulder straps for men. It’s lightweight, compact, and easy to assemble, making it ideal for airdrops…

Featured Opportunities

Related Stories