Our second container of bikes was being implemented as a BEC ( Bicycle Empowerment Centre) in the small village of Chibobo in Zambia. There it supports the Chibobo orphanage.You can learn more about the orphanage at the Help Ministiries web site.
The Chibobo BEC project started mid 2009 when B4H Melbourne was contacted by Warren Mills of the Mechanics For Chibobo/Serenje. The Mechanics continue to work to develop an automotive workshop in Chibobo and the nearby larger town of Serenje. These workshops are planned around a similar model as the BEC with locals trained and employed in what will become an economically stimulating, micro-financed small business providing training, employment and economic opportunities for the community.
On meeting with Warren Mills and Phil Stacey there was a clear fit between the organisations. The BEC has been established in Chibobo to support the orphange with the training in bicycles mechanics indicating which of the trainees will be suited to the more complex automotive training as the larger project develops.
Our partner Bicycle Empowerment Network Namibia was looking to expand in to Zambia so it was very timely.
Bicycle collection began and the container filled with around 380 bikes and extensive engineering equipment shipped to Zambia mid 2010. The container also included a gantry hand winching system for getting the 40ft conatiner off the back of the truck once it reached remote Chibobo.
Both Phil from the Mechanics and Ylva Carosone from B4H Melbourne were in Chibobo in September 2009 for the containers modification and implementation.
The project has been a great success. The initial revenue generated from the Bike Workshop allowed the orphanage to plant 14 hectares of maize – enough to feed 150 people for a year. So much in fact that they were able to sell the excess at a further profit – a great result over and beyond the benefit of the bicycles in the community.
Watch a short excerpt from Bike For Africa with Hap Cameron visiting Chibobo and seeing the results of the project here.