In November 2023, Repair Café Kyiv joined the international repair movement. Despite the war in their country, a group of about ten people in their 20s and 30s decided to start hosting repair events at their hackerspace in the Ukrainian capital. From there, they commit themselves to spreading repair culture as best they can.
“During wartime, knowing how to repair things yourself can be of vital importance”, coordinator Volodymyr Babii explains via email. “That’s why we have started to host Repair Café events at the hackerspace that we run. We focus on teaching visitors how to make repairs themselves. We also host discussions and explain to other makers and non-makers how to organize and host their own repair events and spread the repair culture.”
Repair Café adds women to hackerspace community
The meetings have been quite successful until now. “The room is always full of people happy to repair their toasters and other appliances.” Among them are a lot of women, Volodymyr adds. “Some come repeatedly and are now quite confident in their repair skills. We find this important as the hackerspace community in general is mostly male.” One of the women, Olha Ivanchenko, now co-organizes the Repair Café together with Volodymyr.
Volodymyr and co-organizer Olha want to empower people by teaching them how to repair things by themselves.
Helping people to feel less helpless
Repair Café Kyiv also helps people to upgrade older devices – such as light and heat sources, radios etc – to use modern batteries. “In this way, we can be more resilient under the attacks on our energy infrastructure.”
The repair meetings are beneficial in more than one way, Volodymyr stresses. “The war puts a great strain on our society in all aspects. Knowing how things work and how to repair them is not only economically helpful, it’s also psychologically relieving. We want to help people to feel less helpless.”
Repairing gives you knowledge, confidence and pleasure
Olha is a maker and a women’s rights activist. Volodymyr has a background in architecture and urban design. “But for the last five years I have been doing engineering and other technical stuff; this is my passion. I know that repairing a thing by yourself gives you a lot of knowledge, confidence and pleasure. It empowers you. That’s what I want for my fellow citizens.”