The Mchinji Rescue Centre is supported by the Salvation Army International Development team (SAID) and was set up in 2006 to help children and young people who have been rescued from trafficking in the district. A bike enterprise called Salvo Cycles supports the service by generating much needed income. The Salvo Cycles workshop has one main mechanic called Victor.
Activities at the Mchinji Centre
The children are housed, fed, clothed and go to school while staying at the centre. When ready, usually after a few months, they are reintegrated with their families and communities. Staff at the centre carry out sensitisation and awareness raising activities in communities in the district to help ensure that adults understand their responsibilities towards protecting children from traffickers. Some of the children are trained in basic mechanics, giving them a skill for life. This also makes them more 'valuable' to their family/community and thus less likely to be re-trafficked.
- Reduces child trafficking
- Provides and income to pay for services
- provides bikes for volunteers who travel to villages to promote anti-child trafficking
Bikes sent to date
A Salvo Bikes Story
Mchinji is near Malawi’s border with Zambia. Victor moved there from Blantyre to take up his position as manager of the Salvo Cycles workshop just outside Mchinji in March 2011. He is responsible for sales and marketing as well as repairs.
The workshop is attached to The Salvation Army Malawi’s Anti Child Trafficking Centre. Victor also gives training in basic bike maintenance skills to some of the children who stay at the centre. The children are there because they have been rescued from trafficking for exploitative labour, herding cattle all day or working at night in a bar.
Victor is a very positive influence and role model for children who have been through a traumatic experience at the hands of adults who don’t care for them.
When he is not at the centre overseeing the development of the bike workshop, Victor has been visiting villages in the district, offering basic bike repairs and promoting the workshop as a source of affordable bikes for villagers who can use the bikes to get their produce to market.