First day in Namibia, visit to workshop - 23 April 2013

Merlin and Derek are in Namibia, showing Emma, Halford's CSR Manager, how we work on the ground, with some of the benefits and challenges.  We're here for a week to visit our longstanding partners, the Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN) Namibia.

We hope to send updates as we go, though are heading up country tomorrow, and don't know what internet connection will be like...

An photo of containers converted to a workshop - Kings Daughters Bicycle Shop, one of BEN Namibia's best run Bicycle Empowerment Centres (BEC)
Kings Daughters Bicycle Shop - made from old shipping containers, with an awning between them and in front

Today, on an interesting bicycle ride around Windhoek organised by www.katuturatours.com, we visited the Kings Daughters Bicycle Shop, one of BEN Namibia's best run Bicycle Empowerment Centres (BEC).

As well as providing employment for the mechanics, the project supports ex-sex workers, and generates an income to provide food and support for those with AIDS.

They explained that becoming a bike mechanic is often a first step for an ex-sex worker regaining a sense of worth, and the Kings Daughters are happy that many of them move on to other better paid work.

As well as providing employment for the mechanics, the project supports ex-sex workers, and generates an income to provide food and support for those with AIDS.

They've got a great set up, which has evolved into two 40-foot containers converted to workshop and storage, with a covered secure area in between, which local women like to use for various trainings, such as crafts. The awning in the front provides shade for repairs and sales.

Esme is the manager (in the pink), very passionate and erudite (we'll post a video later).  The USA embassy flew her to the States to receive an award for anti-trafficking work.

Sarah (in the background) is a shy but capable and committed mechanic, and their longest serving employee
.