When we signed the deal to set up a fab lab in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, I was excited. They are going to do so much cool stuff with the technology! I had been working with laser cutters, CNC mills, 3D printers and much more for a long time, but always in ‘wealthy’ and ‘safe’ environments. People made cool stuff; skateboards, guitars, little portable speakers… but nothing life changing. Oh boy, seeing all that is possible, this is going to change peoples lives in Tana!
Or so I thought.
One evening, after installing a part of the new lab in an SOS children’s village, I left the compound to go to the hotel. On the curb there was a girl, sitting in the dirt, with two little babies in her arms. Above her head, the spikes of curled barbed wire warned the less fortunate to stay away from the house on the other side. She must have been 14, maybe 15. It hit me all of a sudden that her main occupation that day, and most likely the ones in the foreseeable future, was survival. Her’s and that of the babies, none of whom wore socks, or decent clothing.