Kickstarter has gotten a lot of press for its ability to fund people’s passion projects (albums, films, even magnetic hieroglyphics), but few things have been written about the rising trend that some are using it to help those in need and foster change in the world.
With that in mind, here are seven Kickstarter projects looking to make the world a better place.
Swings: Bolivia. This project couldn’t be simpler. The two guys who started it, Jeff and Drew, want to make people happy by putting up swings. Why Bolivia? Their Kickstarter page goes into far more detail, but the basic gist is that a huge part of Bolivia’s population is made up of children, and the reality of their everyday lives isn’t the most pleasant. Case in point: 40% of Bolivia’s army is under the age of 18! Jeff and Drew reached their Kickstarter goal more than a year ago, but they still need a lot of help to complete their mission.
CMYK Folding Electric Bike. Getting around big cities in an environmentally-safe way isn’t easy. Even in places that have decent public transportation, it can be difficult to reach without using your car. And bicycles are great, but they can also be unwieldy when moving to and from different modes of transportation. Enter the CMYK Folding Electric Bike. It’s small enough to fit in your trunk, but also folds down so you can carry it on buses and trains. Even better, it uses a combination of muscle power and electricity, so if you get tired, you can turn on powered riding for 50 minutes of extra travel time.
Global Village Construction Set. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was an affordable way to provide impoverished people around the world with the tools to build a modern society that they can sustain themselves? Such are the lofty goals of this Kickstarter project, which has created what is essentially a “life-size Lego set” that enables anyone to build 50 different industrial machines that help with manufacturing, building, and farming for around $5 per square foot.
Food Cycle: Building Soil with Pedal Power. This project is all about removing waste and becoming sustainable. The idea is that volunteer bicyclists (youths and enthusiasts) will rescue bikes from landfills, repair them, then use them to transport waste from residential housing and restaurants so that it can be composted and used in an urban garden. Everything about the idea encourages clean use of materials we already have in an effort to live locally.
Seeds@City Urban Farm: “Shoots” Greenhouse. The urban agriculture movement aims to show people in cities how to grow a sustainable food source and stop relying on produce transplanted from thousands of miles away. This already-funded project was to help a specific class in urban agriculture build a greenhouse that would service both a low-income community and as a great training ground for the class itself.
Words without Borders. The mission of this online magazine is to increase cultural understanding and explore global events through writing. Each month, they take on a specific subject or area of the world and try to make it accessible and understandable to a global audience, hopefully raising both awareness and the public discourse. This particular Kickstarter project helped them to raise enough money to keep distributing the magazine for free.