Student’s collection reveals a heart of gold

Saanich girl transforms pop can tabs into a second-hand wheelchair

Maya Saini

Maya Saini

It took five years but Glanford middle school student Maya Saini has turned a mega collection of pop can tabs into a second-hand wheelchair.

Last week 12-year-old Saini filled the back of her mom’s SUV with several bags of aluminium pop and beer can tabs, a collection she’d been building since she was seven. They traded them in to William’s Scrap Iron and Metals for more than $60. With another $44 worth of bottle returns, Saini was able to negotiate the purchase of a perfectly usable wheelchair for $100 from The Right Price.

“It started with me hearing you could buy a second-hand wheelchair for someone who needed it,” Saini said. “I had also heard you could return pop can tabs.”

First, she had to train her two older brothers and parents to retain all tabs from the recycling.

Removing the tabs resulted in plenty of cuts and scrapes for all.

Soon, friends were contributing as well. Her mom posted a notice at work and coworkers were bringing tabs from home.

On Dec. 7, Saini delivered the chair to the Fisher Building of the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health.

“At only 12 years old, Saini has the heart of a philanthropist,” said QA spokesperson Jessica Woollard. “Thanks to her dedication and compassion, a child will have access to a wheelchair, and all those who hear her story will see the good that comes from supporting people in their community.”

Saini, it should be noted, has already moved onto new projects. She’s enrolling in the Me to We charity leadership program (which helps bring clean water and empowerment to struggling villages in developing countries) through Glanford and is part of the school’s successful zinc campaign.

Glanford is collecting batteries for their zinc, which is reclaimed and used to supplement the lacking nutritional diet of people in developing countries.

The school gathered 270 pounds in one week. Batteries can be dropped off at Glanford middle school.