In modern Jewish circles, tikkun olam has become synonymous with the notion of social action and the pursuit of social justice — Learningtogive.org
…The world being broken. Maybe it isn’t that we’re supposed to find the pieces and put them back together. Maybe we’re the pieces. Maybe, what we’re supposed to do is come together. That’s how we stop the breaking. — David Levithan, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
The concept of Tikkun Olam, originating in Jewish texts, has become almost mainstream shorthand for philanthropic dynamics, referenced by everyone from President Obama to global healthcare visionary Paul Farmer. The phrase, far removed from it’s original contexts, has resonance to many pursuing noble causes, and for Jews like us, engaged in 3D printing and related technologies, the concept of fixing a broken world seems especially apt.
In recent years, 3D printing has gone from fantasy to affordable reality, allowing individuals to own and operate their own printer and make any number of things they can find designs for or imagine. Combining this capacity with the networking power of the internet, has encouraged innovation on a new scale, including the creation of an online community of digital humanitarians known as e-NABLE and an Israeli-based global initiative called Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM).
e-NABLE is a 3-year-old volunteer movement comprised of thousands of makers, teachers, students, artists, parents and others, in every continent using 3D printing and open source breakthroughs to provide free prosthetics to those in need.
The resulting designs are assistive devices that provide an alternative to conventional prosthetics. While not comparably functional to traditional prosthetics, e-NABLE’s 3D devices offer other benefits, especially for children. The process makes keeping pace with a child’s growth easier. And, perhaps most importantly, these prosthetics often serve as tools helping children feel more confident and positively unique, as this recent Upworthy video illustrates.
3D-printed prosthetics and e-NABLE’s brand of digital humanitarianism has tremendous potential for all ages in a variety of settings. In fact, there is great interest in exploring the role it might play in the developing world and in places where war or natural disaster compromises access to health care.
Enable International Haiti (EIH), a pilot project underway in just such a setting, is focused on providing 3D printed prosthetics training and equipment to Haitian health care professionals. The funding for this project came from a grant distributed by the Genesis Prize Foundation, as a result of e-Nable being selected as one of 9 winning teams awarded a grant of $100K as part of the Genesis Generation Challenge, a competition created in honor of 2015 Genesis Prize Laureate Michael R. Bloomberg.
Uniting people, ideas and new technologies to offer positive change, many of which can be seen as problem-solving ‘repairs,’ or ‘fixes,’ are goals e-NABLE shares with Israel-based Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM). TOM brings together strategic thinkers, engineers, designers, and project managers to solve unmet social challenges in disadvantaged communities. TOM’s work on assistive technology involves organizing make-a-thons addressing specific challenges facing the disabled. These events often produce solutions in the form of ingenious hardware and software prototypes. TOM make-a-thons have taken place in Israel, Brazil, and Canada with Vietnam the next stop.
On April 14th, Enable International Haiti, Enable Community Foundation, and Tikkun Olam Makers will come together in Washington DC for a special free event. As part of 3D DC, an annual 3D printing and policy gathering produced by Public Knowledge, EIH, ECF and TOM will co-host a lunch time panel on using 3D printing and social impact.
For more information and to RSVP, click here.