A great holiday gift?  Fix something broken!




Those of you who have followed InterestEng. from the beginning will remember our young Dr.Surprise—a boy from Ukraine who loved to surprise us with science stories about our solar system. Dr.Surprise is now grown, married, and studying bio-engineering at the “Harvard of Ukraine” in Kiev. Lately, Andrei has very kindly found time to write for us again . . . and we’re so glad!

EVERY year over 2 billion tons of waste is produced. And 99% of this trash consists of things that are in use less than 6 months! But there is something that can help us decrease that number significantly. It is called The Repair Café.  [See video below.]

Now most devices, gadgets, tools, instruments even cars are made to function a short period of time. That leads to the constant replacing of things because of malfunctions. The purpose, of course, of shortening the life of something is to increase the income of the company that made it. That also leads to a massive increase of litter produced. The only way to improve this situation is to increase a gadget’s life span by fixing it instead of throwing it away. Even more, fixing old things not only saves money, but has a huge, positive impact on the environment.

Today there are some wonderful places where you can take your broken device for it to be fixed. One of the greatest examples is a Repair Café. The aim is to help people fix anything they bring there.  It’s also a place where people meet and socialize. Skilled volunteers do their best to fix sometimes simple and sometimes complicated things. As a result, the owners of a broken device discover for the first time the inner side of things they had been interacting with for a long time before they broke. Most people don’t think about how things function, but with a help of the volunteers they learn. And after seeing the process of fixing something and gaining new knowledge as to how things work, people can even try fixing an issue the next time by themselves. Also, new knowledge is a fun thing to discuss with people with the same experience. Repair Cafés can help people get routine things working, but also reunite people with things that mean a lot to them as a special memory. 

All in all, Repair Cafés are a great example of volunteer work that makes an impact on society and the environment. Today Repair Cafés are not wide-spread, but maybe you can be of the ones to help change that!  —Andrei

 ©preInterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com