Printing Syria

3D Printing for Refugees “Hacks” Daily Challenges of Syrians

3D Printing for Refugees

Can Fablabs and 3D Printers help refugees? This team wants to bring printers to refugee camps, and print necessary tools for survival.

3D Printing is already being used to combat natural disasters… but for those living in Syria, danger can seem impossible to escape. The goal of makers Dave Levin and Loay Malahmeh to set-up makerspaces and innovation centers for refugees goes much deeper than giving people neat tools. It’s about helping people in very practical, realistic ways.

“Much of what we’re doing is trying to disrupt the whole nature of humanitarian relief, of civil defense, perhaps of warfare itself,” said Levin.

The pair is working with a non-profit network, attempting to “hack” challenges faced in Syria. They want to minimize damage from attacks, help those who have been maimed and tackle any many other problems citizens may face. They are part of the Refugee Open Ware (ROW) consortium, which has received diverse kinds of political, financial, and technological support.

Dave Levin (Left) and Loay Malameh (Right) want to 3D Print for Refugees (Image: Jahd Khalil)
Dave Levin (Left) and Loay Malameh (Right) want to 3D Print for Refugees (Image: Jahd Khalil)

Can 3D Printing for Refugees Really Make a Difference?

A recent Russian airstrike left many stuck in rubble. Before any survivors could be rescued, fires had to first be put out. Even that was difficult. Levin explains, “a guy came out with a water tank and a garden hose,” and could barely get a stream powerful enough to put out the flames. Though Syrians have equipment, they require vital bits-and-pieces to turn them into powerful tools. The response? 3D Print a key part, like a nozzle, transforming the mundane into a vital tool.

Printed prosthetics are also key. After helping one refugee, Asem, print a custom piece for a prosthetic foot, they found the momentum to keep going. They are launching a research and development center in Istanbul, a prostheses center in Jordan and hope to launch a fabrication lab in the Zaatari Refugee Camp, which houses almost 80,000 people.

Can 3D Printing for Refugees make a difference? (Image: Jahd Khalil)
Can 3D Printing for Refugees make a difference? (Image: Jahd Khalil)

Even with financing and support, there are still troubles.

Despite their best efforts, Jordanian security services have rejected many necessary approvals to set up their Zaatari lab. Authorities are very cautious, making it difficult to move forward. The team is currently seeking engineers, data scientists, software and web developers and, of course, donations.

Though they will likely face set-backs, the support they have received as well as the progress they have made speaks volumes about the community, and the power of technologies like 3D printing.

(Via: Popular Science)