Intelligent Mobility International (IMI) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that seeks to empower individuals with disabilities by designing and producing safe, durable wheelchairs and mobility devices suitable for the terrain in developing countries.
IMI draws on a volunteer base of talented design and engineering students and professionals. Its founders are students and alumni of Caltech, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California and Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
IMI is launching two key programs, IMI Wheels and IMI Seeds. IMI Wheels’ goal is to design and produce innovative mobility devices. IMI Wheels will start in Guatemala where Whirlwind Wheelchair International reports more than 55,000 physically disabled people need wheelchairs. Committed to supporting local economic development, IMI will train people with disabilities at its partner shops to make the mobility devices it has designed.
The goal of IMI Seeds is to promote independence in the disabled community through job placement and microfinance programs. IMI’s pilot programs will form lending organizations to create entrepreneurial opportunities for carefully chosen candidates at its partner organizations. IMI’s current program is based in Guatemala but in coming years the program will expand across the developing world.
IMI has formed an important joint-venture with the Transitions Foundation, a Guatemalan disabilities association and nongovernmental organization (NGO) based in Antigua, Guatemala. Its purpose is to build appropriate wheelchairs and other mobility devices and to mobilize disabled Guatemalan youth through health and physical rehabilitation, education, skills training and social integration. With the assistance of the professional networks it is forming throughout the Americas, IMI intends to produce and least 50 wheelchairs during the first year it is operational.
Through innovation and collaboration in social programs and products, IMI is helping to empower people with disabilities.