VGU hosted the very first TOM Makeathon in Asia to help disabled children have a better life!

Vietnamese-German University (VGU) was selected as host for the first ever Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) held in Asia from 03.06.-05.06.2016. “Tikkun Olam Makers” mean makers doing good. The TOM event connects children who are living with disabilities, the need knowers, who are significantly affected by their daily challenges as they have the best awareness of the issues to be solved. 7 multi-disciplinary teams of engineers and designers coming from universities and industry focused on making a prototype for one need-knower. The teams met the need-knowers six weeks ago during a kick off meeting to understand their needs and initiate the prototype design process.

The prototypes’ realization took place at the VGU Binh Duong campus during 72 hours from June 3rd to 5th, 2016. Besides making its campus and dormitory available for all participants during these 72 hours, VGU also contributed its state-of-the-art equipment, such as 3D printers, metal and plastic production tools for realizing the prototypes. VGU taskforce led by MM. Thomas Guidat and Henning Hilbert and comprising staff from GPEM and facility management assisted the event preparation and attended day and night to support TOM’s participants. VGU President, Prof. Dr. Juergen Mallon was very delighted to support and host TOM event, that has fostered VGU's social responsibility in a very unique and meaningful way. 26 resourceful VGU students from different study programs, backed by experienced engineering teams in state-of-the-art laboratories, have demonstrated their ability to apply academic learning into practical solutions which helps to facilitate the life of children with disabilities.

The TOM experience was closed by a Gala event at the Novotel Hotel in HCMC, where the current prototypes were presented to a panel of judges in front of over 100 members from press, industry and academy. TOM was co-organized and sponsored by Fablab Saigon, UNICEF, the U.S. Consulate General in HCMC, the Israeli Trade Mission to Vietnam, Disability Research Capacity Development (DRD), and VGU.

Beyond the experience and convincing results of such an event, the magic of TOM lies in the open source nature. All prototypes data will be made available for any maker willing to develop and industrialize the production process. Hoang Anh Pham from Fablab Saigon is right in noting that "Vietnam truly is a nation of Makers. Given the right tools, knowledge and network, people can invent extraordinary things with great positive impact. Partnerships such as the one behind the organization of TOM Vietnam are keys to create these opportunities for the country to leapfrog." VGU is deeply touched by the excellent work and passion of all 7 teams had done during the 72 hours  to create open source and affordable solutions for everyday challenges for the children with disabilities.

For photos and impressions please follow the links below: – Unicef Vietnam’s Facebook Homepage – Pre TOM clip: Introduction of the children with disability, who took part.

Photo: UNICEF Viet Nam\2016\Truong Viet Hung


Opening speech by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mallon, President of Vietnamese-German University in Binh Duong.

Ms Einat Halevy-Levin, Senior Business & Development Officer, Israel Embassy

Participants working on their prototype in VGU laboratory.

Touch up”, Team 5 solution to help Hoai, a boy having mental retardation

"Uyen’s chair”, prototype from Team 7 to help Uyen sit on her own.

Group photo, taken at the closing Gala of TOM.