Meet Sulayman (left) and Ebrima (right), the two Wonder Years Centre of Excellence mechanics from the latest Times Appeal story. Our African programmes manager Jason recently gave them a visit, providing training and helping them improve their workshop:
“The guys were working on the floor out of toolboxes. They had to rummage to find what they wanted. Sometimes they’d spend 30mins looking for a spanner. Visitors would also help themselves to tools, and a few had gone missing. I showed them examples of other workshops in Africa and they immediately understood the benefits of a shadow board - you knew where everything was, you could access it quickly, and you could check it was all accounted for at any time during the day."
"We swept out the floor space and removed all the junk that was lying around. We moved the chairs and tables outside under a tree - giving visitors a place to smoke and drink tea so as they wouldn’t disturb the mechanics (it’s a very sociable workshop). The guys laid out the toolboard just as they wanted it (you can never have enough pliers) and I introduced a few new tools and replaced some that were missing.
After an assessment of the guys’ technical abilities, we got stuck into some training. They both desperately wanted to learn how to lace wheels (pictured top), which is something UK mechanics learn very late in their apprenticeships, but much more urgent in Africa!"
"We’re hoping to secure funding to move WYCE into a permanent workshop early next year. There’re a lot of bicycles in Madina Salam, and the workshop gets lots of visitors! Having the guys improve their temporary setup should get them thinking a little more about how they want their next workshop to be!”
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