As part of International Day of People with Disability, Girl Geek Academy put together a team of makers to participate in a three day makeathon from Dec 1st – Dec 3rd at TOM: Melbourne.  

Tikkum Olam Makers (TOM) is a global movement that connects designers, developers and engineers to develop technological solutions for people with disabilities. The event is focused on creating prototypes for a specific challenge a person with a disability faces every day.

The challenge given to the Girl Geek Academy team is to help Andrea to more independently go fishing. Andrea asked for a fishing rod system that’ll allow her to reel in the fish by herself without having to rely on her dad to come over and do it for her.


Our solution: create a build a custom fishing rod mount for Andrea’s wheelchair and a motorized reel system controlled by a simple on/off button.

April, a co-founder at Girl Geek Academy and a 3D printing hobbyist, said: “It was really good to use my skills for the greater good than just for entertainment.“

Sally Pryor, Girl Geek Academy team member and Analyst at Dep. Health & Science: “It’s great the teams are given a specific person to solve a specific challenge for. A lot of times people don’t have the opportunity to design for a specific solution but we can here. On top of that, our solution will be open sourced so anyone who has to face this challenge has a new tool to overcome it.”

Anne Williams, Girl Geek Academy team member and Occupational Therapy Lecturer: “I’m amazed how our team came together and had the right expertise to find the best solution for Andrea. For someone who doesn’t normally do hands on making or hackathons, it’s been a fantastic experience working with this team.”

Nicole Castles Girl Geek Academy team member and UX Designer: “I normally work in a software space and I really enjoyed seeing how design thinking can be applied to make a physical product. It gives me a sense of empowerment to see us use these design skills to make a really useful and valuable solution for Andrea.”