Makers Unite

Part of: Living Labs

Makers Unite connects EU locals and refugees to co-design products using waste material collected on Greek shores as result of the refugee’s passage. While much is known today about the social impact of the current crisis, little is shared about the environmental damage it has been causing. Makers Unite aims to tackle both social and environmental issues by integrating newcomers in the European community and providing a solution to the accumulated waste.

Crisis = turning point

The current refugee situation is a global challenge. The large migration stream into to Europe is often referred to as a crisis, however the word crisis both in old Greek and Chinese languages have a neutral meaning and refers to a turning point, which includes an opportunity or chance. Makers Unite strongly believes in this opportunity and seizes the chance of uniting people worldwide. We therefore see the life vest, worn by the majority of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea towards the European Union, as the ultimate ‘turning point’. The life vests (and rubber boats) are vitally important in getting the migrants safe ashore. It’s a primary need for a new life, after having left their unsafe homes behind.
 
Opportunity
Once ashore the journey of refugees continues, but their life-vests stay behind on the beaches causing ecologic and environmental problems. Today we estimate about 700.000 life vests accumulated on the main islands used as entry points to Europe.
Together with Greek NGO Odyssea, Makers Unite up-cycles the life vests and
rubber boats into products such as bags, smartphone and tablet cases, mattresses for emergency hospitals on the Greek islands and many other items. These items are commercialized and the revenue is directed back to the refugee's cause.
Together with migrants, locals from the Greeks islands and locals from the

‘hosting’ countries Makers Unite create a circular economy and unite society at the same time.
 

Goals

  • Positive involvement of the public on the current humanitarian, ecological and economic crisis;
  • Funding future opportunities for refugees in Europe;
  • Opportunities for refugees and locals in Amsterdam / The Netherlands (and other EU countries) to start initiatives together;
  • Solutions for accumulating raw material result of refugees arrival in Lesvos;
  • Positive impact on the local Greek economy.