Makers Unite / Connecting makers. Uniting people.

Diana Krabbendam

by Diana Krabbendam 05/20/2016 08:18 PM BST

My idea is:

Entirely new

Which best describes you?


What is the name of the company, organization, team, or group you're entering with? (if applicable)

Makers Unite

Please describe your idea in max 250 words:

Makers Unite connects refugees and EU locals by co-designing products, starting with upcycling life vests and boats collected on Greek shores. The Makers Unite platform offers first steps for refugees to regain dignity, to connect with locals, to build new networks and re-starting their lives. It enables migrants and EU citizens creating a circular economy and meaningful relationships collaboratively on a local level. The revenues of Makers Unite design collection will be directed to the makers and the refugee's cause.

Makers Unite allows identifying abilities of newcomers, connecting their skills with local experts and developing individual talents. As our successful Kingsday Ribbon already shows co-design enables creating products & narratives that engage people. As a result of this collaboration participants find new opportunities while making sustainable products and social business that mutually benefit refugees and locals. Reaching from captivating cultural diversity to supporting initiatives of newcomers and locals together. Directly impacting of the lives of newcomers by being acknowledged, valuable to local economies and creating employment opportunities.

Starting in Amsterdam and Athens, Makers Unite is a collaborative journey. Learning how to share and develop a new common culture collectively. This open book for co-learning will assist multiple projects in arrival hubs and local communities, including a workshop programme through Europe this summer. Sharing experiences, knowledge and lessons learned from the process leads to locally embedded businesses as well as an international consumer brand that is about fashion (results from the initial phase) and whatever comes out of the collaborative process. 

Explanatory Video - Make a one minute introducing yourself and your idea. The video should include: 1. A title beginning with #RefugeeChallenge (title of your idea); 2. Introduction of yourself/team; 3. Explanation of idea; 4. Why you think it matters. The video does not need to be professional, a smart phone movie is fine.

Images - Upload images or photos to illustrate your idea or solution (max 5)


Elke Roth

by Elke Roth 05/21/2016 10:28 AM BST

Hi Diana,

I do love this initiative and would like to explore some collaboration options. Please check out my challenge idea and let me know if you're interested.



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Diana Krabbendam

by Diana Krabbendam 05/22/2016 12:00 PM BST

Hi Elke,

We like you idea of making hand bags with skilled crafts people amongst refugees! There might be good options for collaboration for sure. Let's check that out soon.

Good luck with the Challenge.


Diana Krabbendam

by Anna Banout 05/22/2016 02:31 PM BST

Hey Diana!

I love your idea - using discarded vests and lifeboats is just as meaningful as purely practical. My project is similar in the ways of upcycling trash into useful object, that also tell refugees' stories. Maybe we could cooperate in the field on conducting workshops for refugees, expanding both projects internationally?

Good luck! Greetings,


Diana Krabbendam

by Diana Krabbendam 05/22/2016 03:36 PM BST

Hi Anna,

It would a good idea to conduct workshops together. Where are you located? We are in Amsterdam and Athens. This summer we're partnering in a nomadic workshop programme traveling along European hotspots for refugees. We might connect at some places.

If you like the idea, we can send more information about the nomadic programme.

Best, Diana

Diana Krabbendam

by Anna Banout 05/22/2016 04:14 PM BST

Hi Diana,

sounds great! I am currently located in Warsaw. Please do send me more information on the programme, my e-mail is :) Also feel welcome to comment and like QANANI , apparently statistics are important to make it happen ;)

Best, Anna

Diana Krabbendam

by Thami Schweichler 05/27/2016 07:54 AM BST

Well noted, voted, and you've got mail ;)

Ozge Tigli Tasli

by Ozge Tigli Tasli 05/24/2016 10:47 AM BST

Hi Diana,

Your project seems so creative, inspiring and touching! Our project is about handcraft and we are also located in Amsterdam. You can check what we are doing.

I hope we might meet in person and collaborate. 

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Diana Krabbendam

by Thami Schweichler 05/26/2016 08:55 AM BST

Hi Ozge, thanks for the support. I also just voted for your project. 
Let's connect and co-create? Let us know and drop us an email.

alessandra lanza

by alessandra lanza 05/25/2016 09:32 AM BST

Hi, I really like your project: I vote it! Handcraft, arts and food are a very beautiful way to connect people and start the difficult process of integration. We decided to design a food project with focus on bread and a oven space: A Peace of Bread.

Maybe you have some nice suggestion. Good Luck. Alessandra 

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Diana Krabbendam

by Thami Schweichler 05/26/2016 08:57 AM BST

Yes, it is a great idea. 
Bread making is a binding act that connects different cultures. Through this placemaking enables new opportunities. 
Check out this project that we run in Amsterdam:
Let me know if it rings you a bell ;)
Btw I just vote for your project as well

Diana Krabbendam

by alessandra lanza 05/26/2016 11:32 AM BST

I'm excited, the bell rings very strong . Beautiful. So you are already working with these projects? And how is it going? Until now are you in Netherlands and Greece ? This week end I will study well the web site. Gorgeous! Let's do something together!!! Ale

Diana Krabbendam

by Thami Schweichler 05/26/2016 02:08 PM BST

The Beach (for social innovation) in Amsterdam exists for years already. We have partnered up with the NGO Odyssea in Athens for Makers Unite. They carry activities in Greece.

I'll hear from you,

Marjanneke Grobben

by Marjanneke Grobben 05/27/2016 09:08 AM BST

Wonderfull idea!. Very creative and inspiring!

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Diana Krabbendam

by Thami Schweichler 05/27/2016 09:11 AM BST

Thanks for the feedback; lets keep in touch

Daya Elzenga

by Daya Elzenga 05/27/2016 09:50 AM BST

Great idea! I like the creative aspect in it. It seems to enable connections,  empower people and fun :) Good luck!

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Diana Krabbendam

by Diana Krabbendam 05/27/2016 10:18 AM BST

Thank you! Follow us for updates here and on Facebook

Sebastiaan Deetman

by Sebastiaan Deetman 05/27/2016 10:05 AM BST

I love your idea! It gives purpose, and not just to the used vests. Good luck!

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Diana Krabbendam

by Diana Krabbendam 05/27/2016 10:19 AM BST

Thanks for your support!

Follow us for updates here and on Facebook

Willemijn de Iongh

by Willemijn de Iongh 05/27/2016 10:57 AM BST

There is no better way to connect on something that we have in common. Inspiring to see that refugees can show and use their creative talent even though they are far away from home. :)

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Diana Krabbendam

by Diana Krabbendam 05/27/2016 11:03 AM BST

Thank you Willemijn. In our Makers Lab we meet a diversity of talented refugees. That's why we started this project.

Juliette Garms

by Juliette Garms 05/27/2016 11:55 AM BST

What an inspiring project! Realistic and collaborative. All the best! Juliette

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Diana Krabbendam

by Annelieke Bezemer 05/27/2016 12:00 PM BST

Thanks for your support Juliette! You can follow the recent updates here on facebook:

Dorine van Schaik

by Dorine van Schaik 05/27/2016 01:29 PM BST

Doing a great job! Specially collaborating with other great ideas. Together we are stronger!!! 

Just drop my vote for you guys!!!

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Lisa Plaut

by Lisa Plaut 05/27/2016 01:38 PM BST

Great initiative! Good luck & success!!!

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Magdalena Eveline

by Magdalena Eveline 05/27/2016 01:42 PM BST

Your project is very nice! Do you also want to expand out of Europe? 

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ann cassano

by ann cassano 05/27/2016 07:22 PM BST

I just contributed to a competitive idea ;)

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Karen Sng

by Karen Sng 05/28/2016 09:13 AM BST

Hey! Love what you guys have been doing already. seems like you guys are working outside of the camp and for those who are already granted asylum? Have you have worked with those waiting in the camps? i have been trying to work on my idea @Togather for the in camp workshops. do you think they are similar or if you have any advice on it?

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Diana Krabbendam

by Thami Schweichler 05/28/2016 10:40 AM BST

Hi Karen, thanks for the message.
We focus with the efforts that we can do locally. That implies in working where we are based (Amsterdam for instance) with people that were granted asylum or not. However we want to grow Makers Unite into a platform of collaboration that expands with partnership. For instance our collaboration with No Mad Makers ( is to create a tool so they can go mobile around Europe working in the camps giving workshops and sharing knowledge.
Let me know more about your idea and how we could help (

Diana Krabbendam

by Karen Sng 05/28/2016 11:06 AM BST

HI! Thanks for replying so soon.

This is the page. Im not sure why it doesnt come up as a link when i type the name directly.

I read your itworksshop page! i wished there were more pages tho. Looks awesome!

Sarah Rombouts

by Sarah Rombouts 05/28/2016 10:43 AM BST

Looks like we have a very similar project! Let's work together on this :) Good luck, be sure to visit our project: Studio Refugee and don't hesitate to vote for us too, see you in the next phase :)



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Diana Krabbendam

by Diana Krabbendam 05/28/2016 01:09 PM BST

Hi Sarah, there are similarities indeed. Good to share learnings soon. Would great if WDCD facilitates an expert meeting about co-design en co-production of locals and refugees. I voted for your project.


Geke vanDijk

by Geke vanDijk 05/28/2016 03:17 PM BST

Connecting makers from different backgrounds is a promising idea, and with a sustainable agenda thrown in the mix it is even better. However, from your application the main idea of what you propose is not completely clear to me. Are you proposing a local project, a collaboration platform, or some form of knowledge exchange?

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Diana Krabbendam

by Diana Krabbendam 05/29/2016 11:23 AM BST

Hi Geke,

Makers Unite wants to be a platform were makers meet (refugees and locals). Together they design and make products that will be presented and sold to the public (on this stage the team works on fashion items, so this might become the core of the Makers Unite Collection). 

The platform (mainly financed by selling products) offers a starting point for talented designers and makers. That's why we also facilitate them in next steps towards their own business, finding further education or job opportunities. Focus is on the first steps of access to local networks, local culture and systems.

Learnings from the process of co-creation and support will be shared (Amsterdam and Athens) and is open to other initiatives by offering the tools and methods we develop.

katia kayser

by katia kayser 05/28/2016 05:08 PM BST

Hi Diana, I like your idea! Our idea Curumim

was thought to use uniforms discarded by Ikea, I would like you to look and tell us what you think. We are looking for an idea that wants to join us, we are in Brazil. Feel free to vote for our Project also is like :)


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Diana Krabbendam

by Thami Schweichler 05/29/2016 12:12 PM BST

Hi Katia, Curumin looks very interesting. Specially the way you provide the DIY instructions.

Can it be further developed into other products and raw material?

Reason I ask is because currently we work with life-vests recovered from the shores in Greece. It is a huge environmental problem (about 1 million of those are piling up now) so by using it we meet ends in our circular economy approach. 

Just voted on your project ;) lets keep in touch

Diana Krabbendam

by katia kayser 05/29/2016 03:01 PM BST

Hello Thami, thanks for the response and for your vote! I think we can use other materials in our Project and we love to work in partnership with you! I'm forwarding your message to our team to keep in touch.

Diana Krabbendam

by Renata Rubim 05/29/2016 03:57 PM BST

Hi Thami, I am one of Curumim's team mate, we are very happy to hear that also our DIY instructions are being well understood. 

We are very interested in developing as much alternatives as possible, because our team is focused in the environment as well as on the refugees.

Hopefully we keep in touch! Thank you for your vote.

Diana Krabbendam

by Renata Rubim 06/01/2016 07:43 PM BST

Hi Thami, we would like to know if you think the boats and life wests materials are soft enough and also comfortable to accomodate well the small children? I am asking because I don´t know how it is.

And in case it is possible to use it, do you think it is interesting to have a partnership with our project? We are considering the idea of suggesting that the refugees themselves could do the Curumim hammocks having your supervision, does this sound interesting for your project?

Alice Meditsch

by Alice Meditsch 05/29/2016 04:13 PM BST

Hi Diana! 

Very nice project! I'm a member of Renata and Katia's group. I think that your idea of put designers from the EU and refugees talents and experiences together is the best way to get a good solution for those problems. Congrats for your project! I invite you to take a look in our project

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Max Sarosi

by Max Sarosi 05/29/2016 04:44 PM BST

Love the idea. Collaboration on products is a great opportunity for refugees to not only make things, make money, but also to meet new people, and get accustomed to the new environment. I really like it. I would love for you to check my idea out, give some feedback or a vote. I would really appreciate it. 



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Diana Krabbendam

by Thami Schweichler 05/29/2016 06:54 PM BST

Hi Max, thanks for your comment!
We believe that exactly this touchpoint where "meeting" becomes "building relationships" that the magic happens. Is at this point that new opportunities are found, collaboration grows and ultimately these lives can get new paths. Great that you enjoy it. 
Please send me the link of your project as I could not see that. Would share my support. 


Diana Krabbendam

by Max Sarosi 05/29/2016 10:14 PM BST

Hi Thami,

Here's the link: love2know



Diana Krabbendam

by Thami Schweichler 05/30/2016 01:50 PM BST

I loved2know your project Max. Much needed one! 
We are working in a similar thing here in Amsterdam, together with Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and the FabCity ( 

in which stage are you?

Diana Krabbendam

by Max Sarosi 05/30/2016 10:44 PM BST

I am still in the collaboration stage as I do not have enough votes. 

Fronnie Biesma

by Fronnie Biesma 05/29/2016 10:23 PM BST

Would it be possible to disconnect it from the single story/ boat refugee story. Using what the new makers bring?

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Diana Krabbendam

by Thami Schweichler 05/30/2016 01:47 PM BST

Hi Fronnie;

The boats/life-vests are our starting point as we are also willing to cover the existing environmental issue they bring. However in our dynamic the participative approach is the core. So new ideas, materials and projects evolve constantly.
Thanks for the input.

Marie deVos

by Marie deVos 05/31/2016 08:56 PM BST

Hi Diana,


Very cool! The fact that you already had one successful idea clearly helps. I love how you’re combining local customers (like kingsday) and combine this with some refugee storytelling and creativity, thereby creating meaningful products


I’d love to learn more about how your business is set-up: do you work with volunteers or do you generate sufficient income. It would be great if you could add a bit more how the current challenge could support you even more? What help do you hope to get? What is your ambition?


Good luck!

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Diana Krabbendam

by Diana Krabbendam 06/05/2016 10:01 AM BST

Dear Marie,

We're in de phase of setting up Makers Unite. Making the ribbons for Kingsday was part of the strategy. It helped connecting to more participants (refugees and locals) and taste the sentiment of the public. The money we made from selling the ribbons went to the tailors and ngo's (Odyssea and Movement on the Ground). That's how the business model might evolve. Making money for the makers in the first place and, if possible, supporting humanitarian help.

Next to selling products, we offer the platform where refugees and locals start working together. It facilitates creatives and crafts people in the orientation on next steps in their career. Participating in the design, production and other business activities of Makers Unite is part of it. But it can also help making steps towards setting up own businesses, further education or jobs. Therefor the network around Makers Unite is crucial. The challenge can help strengthening the network (it already does!).

Furthermore for developing the business case and making the first steps in setting up the platform we need support of any kind (expertise, investments and creating awareness). The challenge is a great opportunity for us!

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Dolly Krabbendam

by Dolly Krabbendam 06/07/2016 04:43 PM BST

Dear sis,

I'm so proud of what you're doing! Of course I voted and wish you all the luck in the world with this wonderful initiative! Hugs, Dolly

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