In our last feature about throwaway culture, one of our top tips was to become a fix it genius. Well, perhaps not genius – but at least to have a go at fixing stuff before it goes into the bin.
“Cracked It” is an award-winning organisation that trains young people to become the next generation’s phone repair entrepreneurs.
They are indeed genius fixers. “Cracked It” fix much more than just mobile phones. They fix lives!
We are so reliant on technology, that when we smash our phone screen, it’s like losing a limb – a lifeline. The young people involved in this project repair the phones, helping people stay connected. Their own lives are improved by confidence, learning new skills and being involved in something positive.
It not an eco-group, but surely ‘Cracked It’ wins major eco points for repair culture and being in the business of real sustainability. Smartphones are expensive items, but many are replaced rather than fixed. ‘Cracked It’ is part of a growing movement which values fixing over trashing. Better still, it is directly teaching young people the value of repair.
The London based group didn’t initially get started to fix phones. It began as an enterprise to train at-risk youth in a trade that would “fix” their lives and help steer them away from crime or risky behaviours.
“We deliver enterprise programmes training at-risk young people between the ages of 16 and 24 to repair cracked smartphone screens as a positive route away from crime.
We harness the alluring elements of gang membership – gaining income, self-worth and belonging
– and positively incorporate them into our enterprise curriculum.” – Cracked It
The training program harnesses young people’s skills and helps them generate positive self-worth, an earned income and a sense of belonging. Things they might find in gang membership, that are turned around to produce positive outlets with real-world pay offs. Their contribution to sustainability may be a ‘by-product’ of the project, but it’s an added bonus to all that’s good about this project.
Young people have grown up with a culture of instant gratification. Fixing a broken smartphone is an achievement that is as rewarding to them as it is to phone owner.
It may not be a straight up ecological outfit, but groups like ‘Cracked It’ are hopefully part of a new wave of organisations that value care and repair over replacement.
The ethos of the group values young people, their skills and their potential – and being savvy fixers can only help the environment they are growing up in. What they are learning to do is simply not be part of a throwaway culture.
Let’s hear it for ‘Cracked It’ – they may not think they’re eco-warriors, but we think they deserve the title.
For more info (or to book a repair!)