September 28, 2020

By SPENCER BEEBE


If it’s broken, Repair Café volunteers can fix it.
Organizers of the Repair Café, which was held Nov. 9, invited Kitchener residents to bring in their old, broken or damaged appliances, toys, electronics or clothes to be repaired by skilled artisans. Visitors brought in a variety of belongings, from simple watches and phones to more complicated devices such as computers and ice cream machines.
“We have the skills to repair anything,” said Sylvie Spraakman, a repair volunteer and one of the event organizers. She added that the event is about people learning new things, and reducing waste.
“It’s awesome; it’s so much stuff not getting thrown out,” she said.
The café was held at Kitchener’s own Kwartzlab Makerspace, a public location that often hosts workshops, community activities and events like this one. The lab’s website states that it is a place where members can get together to make things, to be creative and to pool their knowledge and resources to work on personal projects or bigger collaborations.
“People bring computers, furniture, jewelry, clothes,” said Doug Moen, another event organizer who was happy to see so many people bringing things to be repaired and getting to know others in their community.
While this was the first Repair Café to be held in Kitchener, the concept has been popping up all over; Moen said it is an international movement that started in the Netherlands, and similar events to this one have been held in Toronto and other Canadian cities in recent months, along with dozens of other locations around the world.
The café had a positive atmosphere, with people talking, laughing and learning while enjoying music and snacks courtesy of the Kwartzlab.
“I got my bike light fixed,” said Paul Nijjar, a Kwartzlab member. “Now it won’t leak and get ruined in the rain.”
Interested in learning more about the event or the venue? Visit repaircafe.org or kwartzlab.ca for more information or to see when the next Repair Café will take place in your area.