Do you have an item that needs to be repaired? Turn to the Repair Cafés! These are places where you can fix your defective items instead of throwing them away! We had the opportunity to talk with Luc Deriez, communication manager of the Repairs Together association, which represents the network of Repair Cafés in Brussels and Wallonia.
The Repair Together association was created in 2012 in order to be able to support the Repair Cafés in their development.
What is a Repair Café?
It's a place where you learn how to repair your belongings with the help and tools of volunteer repairmen. In addition to fighting against waste, you meet new people who pass on their know-how to you. Whoever says Repair Café says coffee, so you will find in each Repair Café, a corner set up to enjoy a hot drink while waiting for a volunteer to be available.
"It's a multicultural place, where people of all ages, genders and social classes meet." – Luc Deriez
In a few figures in Brussels and Wallonia, there are 171 Repair Cafés, 3000 volunteers and 177 tonnes of waste that have been given a second life!
The measures put in place in response to Covid
Considered a non-essential place, the Repair Cafés are closed.
"We are impacted like everyone else, the Repair Cafés are closed. The lockdown reveals two things: the lack of contact and the fact is that there has never been so much talk about repairs."
As a result, the association has adapted by offering online content on a regular basis, such as tutorials made by repairers. We'll tell you how to change your laptop's battery, repair a sewing machine, and more.
Faced with the pandemic, the association has set up an online remote help platform called Repair Connects with the help of Statik. This way, although the Repair Cafés are closed, the volunteers are still repairing. Citizens register their broken devices on the platform and repairers in turn try to remotely help these citizens repair on their own. This helps to maintain the spirit of conviviality and solidarity of the Repair Cafés.
Outside of Covid times
Repair Together organizes repair trainings, reserved for volunteers. They allow members to share their knowledge across the network.
In addition to meeting and exchanging with new people, you will improve your knowledge. Training is provided on the basics of repair and on the repair of specific devices. All training courses are free of charge and require registration.
The association also offers educational activities to all types of public: schools, citizens' groups, neighborhood associations, companies, students. They set up activities related to the circular economy or planned obsolescence.
At the same time, the association campaigns for eco-designed devices that are durable and repairable by all!
What are the association's recruitment criteria?
As a recruitment platform, we asked Luc Deriez, what were the association's recruitment criteria?
"When it comes to recruitment, we give preference to people who are active in the network as volunteers and activists."
Today, there are 9 employees running Repair Together and all of them belong to the network!
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