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    Low-Tech with Refugees, a unique maker space in Lesvos, Greece


    We're here in One Happy Family, which is located in Lesvos Which is a Greek island about 15 kilometers from the Turkish Coast

    My name is Pierre In this Low-Tech Makerspace, we are running the project Low-tech with refugees, helping people to build or repair the things they want or the things they have We're trying to inspire people with low technologies, like prototyping things that could be useful on this island, in the camps The good thing is that we have a very good team of skilled people here So they're often the trainers

    My name is Abdulqader, I’m from Syria I came to Lesvos Here we give ceramic classes We try to teach people, old and young and children We teach two days at the school and two days at Maker Space

    When I came to Lesvos, Amelie from France taught me how to make the cups and many other things from clay We teach the students of the school here and the visitors when they came to One Happy Family The idea of low-tech is that everybody could do their own, with things, we could find around for quite cheap or free Prototyping things that could be useful, on this island, in the camps I am Johanna

    I'm a volunteer at the Low-tech Makerspace I'm trying with my teammate to build a washing machine with no electricity Most of the people who come to the Makerspace they have a lot of skills For example, there are some people who craft leather, there is some people who are bike mechanics, electronics engineers So it's very interesting to see how all these skills can complete together

    and they're trying to think about a sustainable solution and efficient solution to get over the winter And try to live in better condition when the weather will be very cold I am from Cameroon I had the chance here to join a group and produce insulation mats so that other refugees can have some more warmth There is a big problem with the winter that is coming to Lesbos because the people living in the informal part of the Moria refugee camp, they're basically living in tents and if they're lucky they have a blanket

    Given that winter is coming, we are trying to find a solution for insulating the tents And one of the solutions is to use the raw materials or the foam within life jackets And I use a hot air gun to melt them together into large blankets, and they are then wrapped into these silver, golden rescue blankets, and then there's another wrap of plastic around it to assure that it's waterproof Well, this is really important It is vital because it will be cold

    People need to keep warm somehow Whatever one can do to improve the conditions, make people a little happier, make them forget a little their concerns So, when you enter the Makerspace, you're like you're overwhelmed by all the activities, everybody is doing something else and that is a sign of a really great Makerspace It's it's buzzing with activity Nobody has enough space There is a lack of everything and still people doing their best and producing amazing products So you're constantly interacting with people from all over the world who knows a variety of skills and you are able to learn from them, which is beautiful I draw this schematic for a water pump

    Someone introduced me to Makerspace so I can get the tools and different parts to build it I drew it on my phone and also on paper and now I’m here to find the necessary parts and build it Now, I dropped my phone at the shores I brought it here to get it fixed I am waiting to hear from the expert, whether it can be fixed or not

    We have one phone, iPhone 4 Unfortunately, the battery is dead I think I tested it before with the machine We have some machines here We can fix everything, electronic stuff

    We try to help the people We need to check the positive and negative first of all, for the battery, for shocking After 10 minutes, maybe we can have a five percent charge

    Also, we have a training class here Now, Abbas here, Abbas wants to know how we can, how we can fix some phones computers, stuff Every electronic stuff, we can fix it Also, we have good students and smart students here

    My name is Mehdi Khawari, I am from Afghanistan I have been in Lesvos around one year I lived in Moria for 11 months I have been working with Makerspace as a carpenter in the last nine months I have 17 years job experience in this field I worked with wood, designed and built sets for broadcast TV When I arrived in Moria, I didn’t know anything

    One day I saw a poster: ‘Looking for technical people’ I asked a lot of people about it and finally, someone showed me this place I came here and started working There weren’t many tools But it was ok, it kept me busy

    We started working really well And soon new and better tools started to come That way we could produce more make better things Now, we still don’t have enough tools But it is better than in the beginning

    Ideally we should have a lot more tools Then I can make more of what people need The place itself is very small but it is warm and friendly There is no difference between us We are like a family, like brothers and sisters, working together

    Someone is electrician, someone is fixing mobiles, fixing bicycles or welding We are all in the same place, it is just 24 meters But it is like the universe for us It is a very lovely place To feel useful, to feel loved, this is what one looks for in life Humanity, warmth, one can find these here

    And this is really important I suppose one interesting thing about this project is it has grown very quickly because it gives people a chance to use the skills they have to do something you know that you're good at and to make something at the end of it Sort of a reason for people to get up the morning and being part of team and even where they will be welcomed with a smile and a 'good morning' and 'how are you?' and be able to have a coffee and catch up with people Just that dose of normality, really and I think that's part of why it works My name is James Jarvill

    I've been here in Lesvos for around eight months and I've been working with Low-tech with Refugees for around two months of that People often come saying they want to learn how to make a power bank, how to make a box to store food in, how to become a bicycle mechanic things like this So when there's enough people, there's enough demand we schedule a day, and one of the helpers in the space will help run it We also do some bits with kids which we just started

    We do classes which are mixed boys and girls The people here are crazy talented, very very skilled, very highly skilled and for them not to use their skills would be a big waste

    I think the average is like 30 things a day get sort of fixed or repaired or entered into the log and even like the five or six bicycles we have people to borrow on a daily basis; each one is in or out like three times My name is Mohammad Shaban Alizada I have been working here for a month I like this job It is a good job For example, people who have a bicycle, they bring it to us and we fix it

    We fix brakes and wheels… we fix it all When people bring their bicycle, we fix them But sometimes we don’t have time and we encourage them to fix themselves They can fix the flat tires, brakes or change the pedal themselves If they don’t know how to do it we will try to teach them, so that they can solve their own problem next time or can help other people

    This makes me happy, really happy

    Source: Youtube

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