Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 18, 2012.

Update #5

Finally, positive news from the Middle East!

1 comment

Rawaya Wa Badaya!  DIY - Stories and Beginnings!

(40 hours left - if each backer shares with one friend who buys a shirt, we're funded.)

Hello wonderful backers we've been moving and collecting stories of initiative for a while now and it's time for us to share a few of them with you! 

Ali Makhzomi and the instant public lending library. Ali is interested in spreading the value of literacy and culture through reading. Baghdad's public libraries are few and far inbetween. So Ali and some friends set up a free library in a cafe by installing a bookshelf and creating a public library in collaboration with Everyday Cafe! It's awesome!

Um Wael with a wonderful story of initiative, entrepreneurship and positivity. Um Wael is an Iraqi refugee in Egypt, she has 3 children and as soon as the family arrived in Cairo her husband got sick and died. Not sure what to do, she thought to herself, what do I know that I can use to support my family? Remembering that in 4th grade she learned to crotchet she thought she could make products and sell them! Not having the funds to buy yarn she pulled apart VHS tapes and used the magnetic tape to make her first batch of products. Bootstrapping, she used the funds from that to buy potato sacks for the colored string that comprise them. Now she's has been working with The District Community Markets to sell her yarn cellphone holders. 

Zaid Jawad tells us the story of his fathers love for arts and culture. He would take him out to the movies every week. During the most recent war and problems with insurgents he saw that the number of movie theaters were plummeting due to fear of retaliation for being western and unorthodox. Seeing this problem and recognizing the value arts and culture have for society he decided to start up theaters. With no clear idea what he was doing as he was originally a heavy machining engineer, he sold his house, he formed a team with his friend and his dad. They all went through financial difficulties, mortgaging their houses as collateral, but they started four theaters in Baghdad in the face of sectarian strife and real danger due to concerns of blasphemy. This is a story of courage, initiative, entrepreneurship and passion. 

These are a few examples of the stories we hope to spread. Stories of real people looking into the future and own it. Creators of the future filled with hope and drive. Help us share these values and ideas. Help us fund this project. If each backer shares with just one person who sponsors us at the shirt level. We're done. Think about helping us by sharing this post on facebook or twitter!

Stay wonderful everyone.

Also, be sure to see how we're helping translate hackerspaces to the Middle East through our work with Lamba Labs!


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      Creator Florian Horsch on September 16, 2012

      Just pushed out some post on Google+ & Facebook. Also upped my own pledge. Really hope we see a last minute success!

pledged of $27,500 goal
seconds to go
  • Pledge $9 or more
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    210 backers

    A GEMSI sticker and a digital copy of the comics we're creating. Supporting us at this level makes you our friend and grows the network of people who are interested in supporting collaborative community spaces around the world. Any involvement is helpful!

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  • Pledge $29 or more
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    196 backers

    A GEMSI teeshirt to wear when you need an extra smile and all the rewards above. Supporting us at this level starts making it possible for us to rent equipment for the two day space, each shirt = one table or Arduino kit.

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  • Pledge $75 or more
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    69 backers Limited (130 left of 199)

    A self-published book of the comics we're collecting, backer recognition in a comic and everything above. Supporting us at this level makes your hair shinier. It also means that we can pay for our supplies like SD cards and external harddrives which we need to help document and share this movement.

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    43 backers Limited (56 left of 99)

    A limited edition screen printed version of one of the comics from Riwaya wa Bidaya, signed from 1-99. Supporting us at this level makes you a superhero. With this we can buy materials for the workshops, travel around in Iraq and buy kidnapping insurance.

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    3 backers Limited (7 left of 10)

    At this level the funder receives a prototype 3d printed open source heart rate monitor developed for the hackerspace workshops in Baghdad. Own a bit of this historic event and connect with this amazing product which brings with it the concept of open source entrepreneurship to Iraq. Order the first 3 if you want to own one that was made in Baghdad too!

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  • Pledge $888 or more
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    1 backer Limited (7 left of 8)

    Original comic art will be created for a story you think is incredibly inspiring. Help us imagine and share to change the world. What idea do you want to share? Comics will be considered for the book. You will also get everything 75$ and below. At this level you become a visionary. With this support we can pay for the live stream set up and crew costs. The live stream will share the 10 comic stories we are collecting in Baghdad with Beirut through the Share Conference ( and with the world through the hackerspace network.

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  • Pledge $1,222 or more
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    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    An “Iraq Would Be Better If...” canvas print modified by Iraqi artist Susu Attar. At 'Amal wa Amal, our two day hackerspace, we will facilitate the creation of a collage made by attendees who finish the sentence "Iraq would be better if...". We will scan this collage, have an archival canvas print made, then Susu ( will customize the print especially for you. You also get everything $75 dollars and below. At this funding level (and above) you become a super backer and are the lifeblood of our project. Superbackers get their name/company logo placed as sponsors of our project. As a sponsor we would love to have a skype call with you to discuss your involvement with GEMSI both short and long term.

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    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    This reward is especially for San Francisco Bay Area companies and organizations interested in experiencing the GEMSI vision and energy first hand. At this level, you get a presentation by a GEMSI member on the latest & greatest from our work in the Middle East and a 2-hr brain storming and creative problem solving workshop. We can't wait to meet you!

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  • Pledge $7,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    A custom half-day program for your team or community group facilitated by members of the GEMSI team. Choose from a number of different workshop offerings: Collaborative open-source design, 3-D scanning and rapid prototyping, creative problem solving, and others. Experience for yourself what GEMSI is all about - we can't wait to meet you! (At this reward level we are able to offer workshops within North America. If you are outside that area and interested in a program with GEMSI, message us!)

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Funding period

- (21 days)