Fixing the World in More Ways Than One

Fixing the World in More Ways Than One

How Global Repair Organizations Foster Community and Sustainability

Embracing repair over replacement isn’t just economical—it’s a cornerstone of community empowerment and environmental stewardship. At iFixit, we’re more than advocates; we’re catalysts for change, supporting repair initiatives worldwide to illuminate the untapped potential in collaborative repair efforts. Let’s shine a spotlight on the remarkable communities we supported over the past year!

The Global Movement of Repair Cafés

Ever wonder who comes to the rescue when your toaster stops working?? Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s a friend, but more often than not, when a household item breaks, most people don’t have the repair knowledge or someone close to them who can help them fix it. This is where Repair Cafés can help! 

Born from a humble initiative in Amsterdam back in 2009, this movement aimed to help those who wanted to fix their broken stuff but just didn’t know how. Since then, the project has skyrocketed and now boasts over 2,500 Repair Cafés worldwide. If you need help fixing something or if you have some repair knowledge to share, check out their global map to see if there is one in your area.

And if not, why not spearhead the change? Launching a Repair Café might seem daunting, but it’s more realistic than you might think. iFixit takes pride in championing the repair movement by providing a kickstart to newly founded Repair Cafés around the globe through our tool donation program. In 2023, we offered special assistance to pioneers who thrived.

Need a little inspiration? Seven years ago, Italy didn’t have a single Repair Café outside one lone outpost. That was until Mike Kavanagh, a resident of Pavia and a victor of last year’s “Skip the Upgrade” challenge on Facebook, decided to bridge this gap. Fast-forward to today, the Pavia Repair Café hosted 15 events last year alone and has been the catalyst for inspiring others in the region to start their own. 

In France, Suzanne from Nantes–a dynamo in our French community– has had such monumental success with her Repair Cafés that it led to the inauguration of a second location. Effectively doubling the opportunities for the community to engage in repair!

Videos for a good cause: INFOREA

Thomas, aka INFOREA, is a French repair enthusiast on the frontline with a mission to combat e-waste. 

He streams his repairs live on Twitch with the singular goal of reducing the digital divide to give everyone access to new technologies while reducing the ecological impact. 

He meticulously cleans and refurbishes donated laptops, smartphones, and tablets from companies and organizations. Once he’s completed a restoration or repair he then personally donates the revived devices to schools– directly contributing to technological accessibility and sustainability.  

In 2023, Thomas saved over 1,688 kilos of equipment and even organized his first (and certainly not his last) Repair Café. We’re proud of his work as a repair ambassador!

Empowering Innovation: The Fab Lab Phenomenon

In Japan, Fab Labs stand as beacons for aspiring engineers and makers worldwide, bridging the gap between imagination and creation. 

If you’re on a quest to bring your engineering visions to life, your local Fab Lab is your gateway. These workshops are equipped with the latest digital fabrication tools, enabling you to craft and repair virtually anything you can envision. In our commitment to fostering innovation and skill enhancement, iFixit has proudly sponsored two pioneering Japanese Fab Labs: Fab Lab Yamaguchi and Fab Lab Shinagawa. Their guiding principle is as impactful as it is inspiring—to empower individuals to refine their skills, encouraging self-reliance by teaching them to create and repair the essentials on their own. 

Their mission truly embodies the essence of innovation and self-sufficiency.

Beyond Repair: Catalyzing Change with Angestöpselt and selfm.aid

In Switzerland and Greece, selfm.aid leverages repair to fortify communities facing humanitarian crises.  Their mission is to empower individuals by equipping them with the skills to produce vital goods from local resources. The “Phones Without Borders” project based in a Greek refugee camp trains individuals in phone repair, providing a glimmer of hope as well as practical skills for a better future. These repaired phones are then distributed to asylum seekers across Europe. To contribute a phone or organize a collection, connect with selfm.aid here.

A heartfelt thanks to selfm.aid for expanding the reach of our repair manifesto into Greek and Arabic, furthering our mission of universal access to repair knowledge!

In Germany, the realm of repair transcends traditional boundaries, weaving community empowerment into their core missions. Angestöpselt, a visionary project based in Würzburg, embodies the principle of ensuring access to technology for those experiencing financial hardship. Their approach is both straightforward and transformative: refurbishing and upgrading unwanted computers to gift to those in need. Since their inception in 2011, over a thousand computers have found new homes, enriching lives with technology and knowledge through additional offerings like computer courses, coding for kids, and a tinker festival. Interested in contributing? Explore their website or this comprehensive map for similar initiatives across Germany and Europe.

Join the Movement!

We’re proud that iFixit’s donation of tools, replacement part kits, and informational flyers could play a part in this ripple effect of repair. We know these organizations could push through without us, but we’re really proud to be a part of their journey as they share the world of repair with others. 

Feeling inspired? These stories are just the beginning. Engaging with these organizations or your local right-to-repair advocacy network can amplify the impact of collective action. If you’re skilled in repair, consider sharing your knowledge on iFixit. Together, we have the power to mend not just objects, but the fabric of our communities. Let’s unite in the belief that repair can change the world, one device at a time.