Our Tool Grant Winners Are Here! These Are Their Stories

Back in October, we launched a $50,000 tool grant for Repair Cafés and other repair communities with a presence online and off. Submissions are closed (for now), but the winners are in. Your submissions were a wonderful reminder that repair is alive across the world.  

Repair extends beyond electronics. Every item in our kitchen, desk, and garage has a story, its own material life. Each one has a mechanical world inside, whether it’s a set of blinds or a KitchenAid mixer. When you’re not naturally drawn to the inner machinations of your belongings, it can be really scary to attempt to open them up. There are two things to remember: First of all, if it’s already broken and unusable, it can only get fixed from there. Second of all, you’re not alone! Repair centers are great places to get help from experienced fixers. 

Every single repair helps to keep things in use and out of the landfill. And when we join forces, who knows what we can accomplish? The average American household has 300,000 items in it, while there are about 2,000 Repair Cafés, 60 Restart Party groups, and a number of Fixit Clinics available for fixing that stuff when it breaks. We hope our grants are a little push towards bridging the gap.   

“You can buy new stuff anywhere, anytime. We should have these options for repair, too,” Repair Café founder Martine Postma told us in October. “There are plenty of possibilities to move to a society where repair is considered as normal.”

Here’s what some of our grant winners plan to do to make that happen:

Repair Café Cape Town, South Africa

“Our intention is to bring awareness to repairing instead of replacing with our events. We insist on individuals taking part in the repair of items; in order to share knowledge and skills.”  Join their Facebook group.

Cville Time Bank Repair Café — Charlottesville, Virginia

“One of our most active and reliable fixers is the person who let us know about iFixit. He and I are recruiting some of our hands-on fixers to participate in the answers forum on a regular basis. One member is particularly interested in contributing to the [iFixit Answers] forum about vehicle and small engine repair. If it has a gas engine, he’s a master! But our local events prohibit working on anything with a gas engine. We have approximately 70 volunteers who volunteer their time at our local events, and we will be encouraging all of them to participate.” Visit their website.

Rusko Repair Café Bologna, Italy

“We’d like to share tips and tricks useful for fixing devices, focusing on creative ideas on reusing objects which otherwise would become rubbish.” Visit their website.

Club de Reparadores, Argentina

“This year we started developing a digital online tool to promote commercial repair in our region… Through social media and our offline events we always encourage turning to online tutorials, such as the very exhaustive content found in iFixit, to look for instructions to fix objects.” Visit their website.

Club de Reparadores x CDMX, Mexico

“Mexico City has a very popular repair culture, but we are also aware of the potential of online portals such as iFixit to make tutorials and solutions to obsolescence problems available for younger generations as well.” Find them on Facebook.

Repair Café Aschaffenburg, Germany

“We’re actively promoting synergies between the maker/hacker community and repair initiatives, doing a lot of talks and presentations on conferences. I got to meet Kyle at Fixfest in Berlin last September!” Visit their website.

Huddersfield Repair Cafe, UK

“We would prefer to expend time and effort on a guide that has a broad appeal but I’m sure there’s always room for the weird and wonderful niche items that the general public has hidden away.” Find them on Facebook.

Repair Café Portsmouth, Great Britain

“We are actively encouraging our repairers to get involved in the online community through groups such as iFixit & the Restart Project. We’re asking them to upload fix videos, and we also collect data from our events to help with lobbying.” Visit their website.