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Mission Accomplished: BOOST by BJR in Bogotá

We are so proud of what Born Just Right’s Senior Program Director Kate Ganim could accomplish with Bogotá’s Fabrilab across two design-packed Saturdays. Four kids had a chance to develop prototypes based on their own limb differences and learn how to make those ideas a reality. Kate wrote up her experience from this past weekend:

On the second Saturday of the workshop, kids learned about size and scale, exporting 3D models from Tinkercad, setting up the files to print, including confirming the settings for the bed size, calibrating the printer, and in general how an FDM (fused deposition modeling, the standard type of desktop 3D printer) 3D printer works. The kids printed a couple of pieces that they 3D modeled for their project, such as a little astronaut to get added to a spaceship arm. After they 3D printed something that they modeled, we introduced them to Thingiverse, and invited them to pick a 3D model from there, if they wanted, and go through the process of 3D printing it. For the spaceship arm, our workshop participant chose to use the astronaut that he had 3D modeled himself, rather than the one he printed from Thingiverse.

Kids work on a 3D printer with a volunteer at Fabrilab in Bogota
Working with the 3D printer.

Once the 3D printer was running, there was a lot else to do! Our partners at Fabrilab helped to prep some of the projects during the week so that our participants could get further into their design (since they only had one day to build). We learned about personal safety gear while using tools, and used it while sanding. Our participants figured out how to attach their body mods to their arms so that it would be easy enough to take on and off, and secure enough to stay on when they wanted it to. They pushed and pushed their projects, and finished up just in time for some informal and wonderful final presentations. 

A workshop participant works on his spaceship attachment.
Working on a spaceship prototype concept.

Our final presentations were informal and conversational, with our participants explaining what they made and how, their favorite part of the workshop, and what they hope to do next. Most of the final prototypes were directly linked to their musical chairs brainstorm ideas from the first worshop day, which was fun to see. The parents chimed in as well, saying that they appreciated the experience for their kids, having them exposed to such a creative atmosphere, and learning tools to design + prototype. It was a very different experience for them to be a part of.  

One challenge we had was that not everyone who attended the workshop last week was able to make it back for the second day. It was a good reality check that this is a much different culture and context than what we’re used to working in – things work differently here, poverty affects many people’s ability to “show up,” and some people are dealing with challenges in their day to day lives that are big, and can cause a lot of unpredictability. There is an added layer of significance in doing this type of workshop in this context: there are no significant employment protections for people with disabilities in Colombia, so it can be very hard for people with any disability to get a job. On top of that, a greater proportion of the jobs here are physical (body) vs intellectual (mind) – so options are very limited for someone with a physical disadvantage. Our partner, Fabrilab, expressed the importance in this approach and mindset, hoping to spark something early on for these kids that they recognize they can create new opportunities for themselves. 

All of the prototypes from the BOOSTxBJR event in Bogota.
All of the prototype concepts from our BOOSTxBJR workshop in Bogotá.

We love the work that the team at Fabrilab is doing (check out their work!), and we hope we have another opportunity to work with them in the not-too-distant future!          

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