Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 30, 2011.

Update #9

Stories of makers in the Baghdad - New Project


GEMSI has been hard at work sharing do it yourself, maker, hacker and entrepreneurial culture in the Middle East! We have some new projects coming up and we'd love to share what your support has helped make happen!

We're moving into Baghdad! Our first project there is called Rawaya Wa Badaya (stories and beginnings). We're looking to collect stories of people recognizing problems in their communities and creating an innovative solution to be of service to others. By creating a comic of their story we would like to help them spread their message and their method as far as we possibly can. 

GEMSI's next few stages of work in Baghdad can be found here:

Thanks again for supporting the development of collaborative community workshops in the middle east! You are awesome.


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Update #8

Need a tee shirt? Also check out GEMSI's progress!


Hello everyone!

I'm excited to be rolling out some updates on GEMSI's work with you, expect another post soon!

If you have not received your shirt please accept my sincere apologies for the delay and slip up. I've been traveling extensively and didn't include theft in the budget for this project. Please mail: bilal@ gemsi .com with your size and address

If you have received your shirt I'd love to see them! Tweet them with a #GEMSI hash or post them on

This kickstarter has helped initiate work to start the development of five community creation spaces and hackerspaces around the middle east:

This incredible group of hackerspaces and affilates is currently working on: an open source heart rate monitors, prosthetic and an open platform for landmine detection.

I hope you're as excited about the future of GEMSI as I am and I feel proud to call you all my backers. HUGS!


Update #7

What we did on the trip - a video update


Hey peeps! It's been a while. This is Adam Funk posting this time.... I'm the mysterious man who filmed the trip. We've done some awesome stuff, so much more than we expected. Maker Faire Africa was wonderful. Mitch, Bilal, Manal, and others all taught wonderful workshops. 

After this project, however, we were whirled all over, to Beirut, Dubai, Hong Kong, and then Shenzhen, working on more things and getting footage. This has been incredible, and we've got so much more to show you than we could have imagined. We'll be realeasing more footage and photos, and working on a full length documentary. 

I also apologize for the delay, we've had a number of technological issues. A bit of this update is filmed on my phone - my camera got stolen in an airport - plus Bilal's iPhone got stolen, his hard drive crashed on the last day, the hard drive he bought in Hong Kong failed after I got back, my SD card slot in my laptop wasn't working, and my audio recorder failed when we were filming the update. But we've got things under control now, and we're up and running. Keep an eye out for more to come. :)

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Update #6

Hackerspace meetup in Alexandria was incredible!


After the great meetup in Cairo, I didn't expect it could get any better. But in Alexandria 30 people showed up and proved me wrong. They were passionate and excited and no one left. Even 2 hours after the meeting was over people were still mingling and chatting excitedly! I have high hopes that the energy they had tonight will continue to push them into a more and more awesome future.

Ps, is a pretty cool company. They fed hosted us and with classic egyptian hospitality and grace. Thanks Samer and team there! Send them thank you notes, they deserve it! Also, if you're an entrepreneur or potential entrepreneur in Egypt, check them out! They are a coworking space / seed fund who's goal is to help you be more awesome, and they do a good job. 

Take care world!

+Bilal Ghalib

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Update #5

Amazing entrepreneur in Cairo


This is Um Wa'ils hand crafted scarf and small bag. And she has an amazing story.

A widow with 5 kids and a heart condition. But it hasn't stopped her having a kind loving heart and sharing the work she so obviously loves to do! She has put lots of thought and craftsmanship into her stuff it's incredible. 

I love this woman so much and I wanted to share her work with you all! If you want something like this let me know and I can pick it up for you, it's 10 Gineh (2 dollars) for the small pouch (fits a camera) and 50 Gineh for the hat and scarf combo (10 dollars) Let me know and I want to support her and share her work with my friends around the world! 

She started out crafting her goods from potato bags seperating the colors from the bag string by string before recombining them. Reusing material and making stuff with what's around her she's really got a true hacker attitude. She's an Iraqi refugee hacker in Egypt. And her story inspires me and I will be posting video of her soon so you can see her positive attitude and her clear artistic eye and love for creating! 


Remeber, we post fairly regularly on twitter and facebook:

Hope to hear from you all soon! We've got so much media, and so litle time to share, I figured I'll write a quick post to reach out and tell you what we're doing. Oh! Also if anyone knows anyone in Alexandria, the meetup is up to 42 attendees, let's invite more! ::

Thanks, with great appreciation and love

+Bilal Ghalib

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    You'll get a sticker with the GEMSI bridge connecting you with other supporters. Wear it proudly! You'll also be featured as a supporter on GEMSI's website.

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    You get the GEMSI Sticker, your name on the website and a t-shirt with the GEMSI bridge on it! It will be hand screened on Alternative Apparel (trust me, you'll like the fabric, it's kitten soft!). You'll appear on the little fast moving credits from the cinema - you know like a stunt man or something - for all the video content we will produce.

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    Get the sticker and a CUSTOM hand printed GEMSI tee shirt printed by me, Bilal Ghalib on ultra soft and delightful Alternative Apparel TShirts! Add any text based message you want above the GEMSI bridge logo. For example: "Bilal Supports:" [insert GEMSI here] or "Makers Unite!" [insert GEMSI logo here]. Ps. This is an awesome chance for you to be creative and get a true one of a kind gift for a geeky friend.

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    Get the sticker, the shirt and Mitch Altman's slightly subversive, and ultimately practical TV B Gone remote control. Turn off or on any TV anywhere. Ever been at a noisy restaurant and wished you could turn off the blaring tv?

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    Now this is amazing. Get an original hand painted scarf with a design of your choosing by Manal. Manal is one of the female artist and entrepreneurs who will be helping GEMSI by running fabric modification workshop! She's wonderful and talented! You'll also get the GEMSI shirt, and the sticker! Here's another tip for a great gift (check the delivery date ;).

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    Not only will you receive the GEMSI sticker, shirt, and a TV-B-Gone you will help participate in the events as they unfold through 5 Skype conversations with the GEMSI team on the ground and access to our email and attuned attention. Do you love the project so much you wish you were a part of it? Well for the price of a plane ticket you can participate fully without having to deal with the TSA!

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