Start your own Repair Cafe. Credits: Martin Waalboer/Repair Café Foundation NL

We Can Fix This – The Tale of Repair Café

What happens when we find a hole in our pants? We throw it away and buy a new one. The toaster that just stopped working one morning? Throw it away and buy a new one. Lamp doesn’t illuminate anymore? Throw-it-away and buy-a-new-one.

When we throw away the broken products, we are throwing away both our money that we used to purchase the old product and the money that we are going to use to purchase the new product. And breaking up with the espresso machine that makes us promising delicious coffee every morning is plain devastating.

We often throw away more things than it’s necessary. In doing so, we also create jaw-dropping amount of waste. The world is already crowded with people, we really don’t need to let garbage to further occupy our space.

There’s an option besides just throwing away things, an option that’s more economical and environmental friendly.

We can repair them.

Repairing items isn’t a new concept entirely. Many of us don’t repair our broken items because we don’t know how, and paying a repair specialist can be, let’s face it, rather expensive.

Repair Café

The first rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club.

The second rule of Fight Club: You DO NOT talk about Fight Club.

The first rule of Repair Café… There isn’t really any strict rule. You don’t have to fight. And it’ll be better if you talk about it more. Also, coffee may not necessarily be guaranteed despite it being a café. What’s available though is that you’ll get to have fun, meet people from your neighbourhood, and most importantly, get your broken items fixed.

Started in Amsterdam, “Toss it, no way!” is the slogan of the Repair Café. Initiated by a former journalist, Repair Café is Martine Postma’s effort in achieving sustainability on local levels.

Here you won’t find whips and chains but you will find tools and materials provided by Repair Café for you to fix things. Ranging from clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, toys etc, you can pretty much get things that you can carry in your hands fixed.

Remember how we are always in awe of our dad being able to fix anything in our home when he is not any specialist at all? There will always be talents in our neighbourhood that we have yet to discover. Repair Café offers a free platform for any repair specialist to share their skills with their community. Even for those that don’t know how to repair, they can either learn from those who do, or help them with the repairing or be inspired. It would be an added bonus if you can make a good cup of latte for the visitors too.

Starting a Repair Café at Your Own Neighbourhood

Martine has founded a non-profit organisation, the Repair Café Foundation to support local groups around the world to start their own Repair Café. So anyone who’s frustrated about having to buy a new item every time a product breaks down can start a Repair Café even here in Malaysia. There are already more than a dozen of Repair Café being started around the globe since Martine began the first Repair Café.

For more information, please go to