A beneficiary and two of the students at this week's "makeathon." A beneficiary and two of the students at this week's "makeathon."

‘Makeathon’ addresses disabled kids’ needs

15 teams of students paired with 15 children who have mobility problems

Teams from 10 universities are busy this week “repairing the world” by participating in a “makeathon” in Mexico City.

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The event has linked 15 children with disabilities with 15 teams of designers, engineers and developers from the universities who are spending three days creating ways to improve the children’s mobility.

The “makeathon” is organized by Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM), a global movement that connects specialists with people with disabilities, with the goal of developing technological solutions for the latter’s everyday challenges.

The event began on Saturday at 10:00am in the Centro Deportivo Israelita (Jewish Sports Center) of Mexico City and will finish this evening with a special ceremony.

A jury will evaluate the 15 projects and choose the top four based on criteria such as financial accessibility, design, innovation and functionality.

In the end there will be more than just 15 children who benefit. All the design specifications for the prototypes created  will be uploaded to the TOM website, where anyone interested will be able to download and use them.

The Teletón Children’s Center for Rehabilitation and Inclusion (CRIT) in the state of México collaborated with TOM in choosing the children who are participating from a pool of 100 possible candidates.

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The 15 cases “might seem easy to tackle, but they do represent some complexity, like one girl who cannot control her movements when using a spoon,” said the CRIT’s deputy public relations director.

“Another interesting case is that of a bicycle for a boy who has zero mobility on his left side. It has to be adapted in order to prevent the boy from falling down,” Malena Rodríguez Antón told the newspaper El Universal.

“We’ve got to realize that technology is not just there to put us in touch through phones or for large-scale projects, but also for smaller, everyday ones,” said TOM México liaison Claudia Dorenbaum, who explained that tikkun olam is a Hebrew term that translates as “repairing the world.”

What TOM México is trying to do, she continued, “is to bring the spirit of what’s going on in Israel — a renowned global technology leader — to Mexico . . . we know we’ve got the talent but we lack the technology, and now we’re using it to help each other out.”

All the building materials needed by the teams were supplied by the Israeli community of Mexico.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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