For centuries (if not millenia) Pakistan has been a country of craft and production. Traditions of intricate handicrafts mix with professional production of various goods, from textiles and sporting goods to software. The country has a vibrant art scene, as well as a nascent entrepreneurial ecosystem. At the same time, Pakistan's population faces stark challenges: water resources are decreasing rapidly, smog is often strong in the cities, and a large part of the country's inhabitants live below the poverty line.
Lahore's Information Technology University set up Makeistan to explore the intersection of these areas. It creates connections between activism and industry, artists, engineers and designers. Through their programming they foster the creation of prototypes that address public health issues or pollution, increase the safety of small scale farmers practices, or playfully embody childhood memories in electronically animated objects. Their education program allows students to learn the basics of design in interdisciplinary teams, or primary school students the basics of electronics code.
While Makeistan is a project of the Information Technology University, we were involved in its founding, developed and executed the strategy of its first year and lay the foundation for the community.