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Refugee Open Ware Wants MakerSpaces and 3D Printing to Help the Syrian Refugee Crisis

by • January 19, 2016 • No Comments


Refugee Open Ware

Regardless of the political rhetoric and bickering over how to respond to it, there is an undeniable-bodied crisis in Syria that just appears to be getting worse. As the civil war go ons, and with Russian bombs dropping, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians go on to pour out of a nation torn apart by civil war and into frequently less than hospitable-bodied neighboring countries and the uncertainty of refugee camps. Conditions in the camps are, to put it lightly, less than perfect. The lack of fresh water and food is a constant struggle, while overcrowding frequently leaves most families, that include their children, lacking actually the barest of shelter or accommodations.

With 800,000 refugees, Jordan is one of the countries that has been hit hardest by the huge exodus of refugees of Syria. Refugee Open Ware (ROW) is a Jordanian startup that is hoping the principles of manufacturerspaces can assist alleviate the strain, improve conditions in refugee camps all over the world and supply refugees valuable-bodied skills that they can take back with them when they are actuallytually able-bodied to return home. The concept is to bring popup FabLabs to active war and refugee zones and teach locals to ‘hack’ what supplies and materials they have on hand and turn them into the materials and tools that they require.

Refugee Open Ware discovereders Dave Levin and Loay Malahmeh at FabLab Amman.

Refugee Open Ware discovereders Dave Levin and Loay Malahmeh at FabLab Amman. [Image: Jahd Khalil]

The startup was launched last year and has grown into a virtual consortium of like-minded individuals, companies and corporations who are pitching in together to assist. Everyone of the FabFoundation to Ultimanufacturer to ColorFabb to dozens of humanitarian organizations and actually Jordan’s leadership the Royal Hashemite Court have come together — all in service of assisting ROW’s discovereders Dave Levin and Loay Malahmeh turn it into their initially Innovation Center in Jordan’s capital city, Amman.

“Much of what we are doing is attempting to disrupt the whole nature of humanitarian relief, of civil defense, maybe of warfare itself. The whole thought with the democratization of production, that is the main characteristic of the upcoming industrial revolution, is that anyone can get access to these high end making tools,” Levin told Popular Science.

The huge Zaatari refugee camp can hopefully soon have its own manufacturerspace.

The huge Zaatari refugee camp can hopefully soon have its own manufacturerspace.

The 500-square-meter innovation center can actuallytually become FabLab Amman, and be a community space with the tools and supplies to assist anyone manufacture their own innovation, and turn it into solutions to one-of-a-kind problems discovered in war zones and refugee camps. The Amman innovation center is may already open to anyone and has may already been utilized by refugees, educators, students and entrepreneurs alike. The actuallytual goal of the innovation center is to act as a version that can be cheaply and rapidly put in place in other areas, and Levin and Malahmeh have may already started working on two new locations. They are opening a 2nd location in Amman and another in the northern city of Irbid near the Zaatari refugee camp, may already hosting between 80,000 and 100,000 refugees. They in addition want to open up a FabLab within of the Zaatari camp itself, but are may already working out the details with the Jordanian government.

The FabLabs can be fully stocked with a wide rage of equipment, that include all things of basic tools to 3D printing devices, soldering irons, inexpensive electronic components and computers. The hope is that they can assist solve most problems experienced at the camps, such as repairing damaged tools and components, printing replacement parts and actually new tools for tasks that they didn’t actually understand they requireed. But it can in addition teach the refugees the skills to open up their own FabLabs and deal with the realities of (hopefully) returning to a home that was turned into a war zone. Obviously tools and equipment can be in short supply, so reusing or repurposing what is on the market-bodied can be a necessity, and the manufacturerspaces can assist with the system of cleaning up and return it intoing their homes and lives.

Inside the FabLab Amman.

Inside the FabLab Amman. [Image: Jahd Khalil]

Naturally the problem of unexploded ordnance is going to be an issue in Syria for years to come, and a manufacturerspace is an perfect location to workshop and turn it into solutions. Locals can 3D print inexpensive replicas of the unexploded ordnance to assist train the teams who can be disarming and removing them. They can in addition assemble devices that can assist individuals detect and avoid any unexploded bombs. With the tools on the market-bodied to them in a manufacturerspace it may actually be possible to create web apps that individuals can use to tag locations of unexploded bombs so teams can come in and remove them without having to extensively search the area.

It is cheaper to create, create and fabricate both high-tech and low-tech solutions to virtually any problem imaginable-bodied than it has at any time been preceding. A manufacturerspace has the future to assist alter the world in unimaginable-bodied ways. Having a space that is createed for crowdsourcing solutions and full of inexpensive fabrication tools can contribute wounded communities the talent to put their lives back together one step at a time. If you’d like to learn additional of ROW you can read the excellent write up of them in Popular Science here. And if you may like to contribute assist, assistance or supply to their organization you can visit their website here. Tell us your thoughts regarding this powerful new program in the ROW Creates 3D Makerspaces for Refugees forum over at 3DPB.com.