Hope Lab - FabLab Israel

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Building bridges between individuals in the Middle East, a conflict-ridden area, through mutual respect and teamwork in practical projects, is our hope for the future. FabLab Israel engages children from the ages of 3-16 (as well as adults and senior citizens; the oldest FabLab participant is 96) from a poor and crime-ridden neighborhood (Holon, south of Tel Aviv), in building a work and play environment which is uniquely theirs, devoted to imagination, creation, and fabrication, as well as study, a place the community members eagerly look forward to going to each day, a place they maintain with great pride and responsibility – new sentiments for these children without direction and commitment.

FabLab Israel has given the participants not only concrete proof that they are capable of making wondrous things (music boxes and furniture, for example), but that they can, when working together, build a space that not only serves them and their community, but also serves as a model for children like themselves – underprivileged, directionless, prone to violence and law infractions – in all parts of the world where fear of the other separates the different segments of the population and causes hatred difficult to overcome. The FabLab Israel experience demonstrates that intimate acquaintance, interaction, and collaborative work leads not only to tolerance and empathy, but to lasting friendships on which to build in the future. Children are learning that as viable members of a society enmeshed in an age-old conflict, their teamwork and mutual understanding can help build a more peaceful world and establish connections between peoples of disparate backgrounds with opposing historical narratives.

Our vision for FabLab Israel is to transform it into FabLab Hope. From PBL (Project Based Learning) to Problem Based Learning, achieving solutions through digital fabrication, FabLab Hope will involve the entire community -- people of all ages from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds, regardless of nationality – using new, innovative educational methods, founded on a curriculum that focuses both on the collective and on the individual. The sharing of knowledge on a daily basis will engender good will and promise, when PF (Personal Fabrication) – where everyone can design and implement his/her own projects – can lead to collective change.

We believe that the third industrial revolution will lead to democratization in design and manufacturing, when the product is in its idea stage as well as in its implementation phase. Together we can achieve the necessary equality to be makers of the future, using the FabLab infrastructure, development process, and, most of all, the FabLab spirit, to achieve a global revolution.

FabLab Israel has been the early bird in this revolution. To make this dream come true, we need to raise money for courses, more FabLabs, and FabLab instructors. The last years have shown us that time only widens the gaps; and that educating children in the art of collaboration will not only create a change in their perceptions but also in their surroundings. Joint activities and educational tools and games promote tolerance, the desire and need for coexistence, mutual understanding, respect for the other, and respect for teamwork. Learning about each other’s culture, religion, and traditions in a fun, informal educational environment promotes such values. Activities are designed to break down barriers and stereotypes, and to develop trust and group cohesion.

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