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The first Humanitarian FabLab in Győr, Hungary, to support children and youth from disadvantaged communities

2020-12-07

Terre des hommes, in partnership with Pressley Ridge Hungary Foundation, set up the first Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) in the western city of Győr in Hungary, where children and young people can use specialised digital and technical equipment in a safe and child-friendly environment.

The FabLab Győr, situated in the city centre, offers a unique opportunity to school and university students, community centres, civil society groups, and any person from the city to attend its diverse hands-on creative production workshops and enhance various skills.

Designed to be a space with advanced digital manufacturing technologies, the FabLab allows children and youth to bring to life their creative projects. The prime aim is to make available this modern technology for children and youth who otherwise would not be able to access it.

By using to the fullest this innovative environment, we empower children and young people to develop their skills, overcome challenges, and to actively realise their own futures. The FabLab is an open space for all children and youth in the city and intends to increase interconnectedness and bridge inequality gaps among various communities.

In October and November, children and youth had the opportunity to visit the newly opened FabLab centre. Various groups from Children’s home institution, the Family support centre of the city of Győr and University of Gyor attended our introductory workshops.

The first sessions focused on introducing basic concepts of 3D design and printing and laser cutting technology. Tdh and Pressley Ridge professionals follow the non-formal education format in engaging and working with the children. We collaborate closely with other FabLabs through the Resilience Collective and our global partner, the FabFoundation, to have the best and most up to date educational formats to develop both technological skills and psychosocial support for the children and youth.

3D printing Halloween designed itemsThe workshops this autumn were a good opportunity for the children to work in groups and create logos, decorations, and other items for the celebration of Halloween. Children employed technology to design their ideas and transform them into products of different formats. By providing psychosocial and therapeutic support throughout our innovative workshops, we not only help children and youth to develop practical skills for future employability, but also improve their resilience.

Photo: Painting to be heat pressed on a T-shirt

The COVID-19 pandemic is certainly a barrier to the full opening of the FabLab. However, together with our partner, we see how important such spaces are for children, if we are able to work in a safely manner. Usually, children and youth coming from a disadvantaged background are the ones who lack the possibility to attend extracurricular activities outside of their school. Therefore, we ensure the full safety of the space and limit the number of visitors per group to be able to offer these children and youth the opportunity to take part in activities. We work closely with partners to allow visits only with prior registration for groups of children and youth. 

3D printing Halloween designed itemsOur team saw the great enthusiasm of the children and youth who were the first visitors of the FabLab. They were eager to return and continue learning about this technology. “After months of home-schooling in spring and lack of extracurricular activities in autumn, these children were thrilled to learn this innovative technology and put their hands on producing with their friends and peers,” said Donat Pacsi, our FabLab officer, after the first activities. 

Photo: 3D printing Halloween designed items

The pandemic will continue to be present in our daily lives in the near future. However, we have decided to intensify our efforts and further involve civil society groups, public institutions, and social workers from the city and surrounding area to make it possible to offer activities in our FabLab, where children and youth can safely learn new sets of digital and technological skills. Many non-governmental organisations and schools have already expressed their commitment to attending the FabLab activities on a weekly and biweekly basis.