Bike program helps refugees pedal towards independence and friendship
During school holidays, DARA’s Refugee Hub holds bike safety workshops for young refugees at Richard Ford Netball Courts in Lambton as part of their Recreation and Cultural Engagement Program.
Registered bike safety trainers deliver the workshop and Refugee Hub supplies a bike to each participant following the workshop. Each bike is donated by the community and refurbished by the University of Newcastle prior to being given to participants.
DARA’s Project Liaison Officer, John Sandy initiated the program as a way of affording refugee youth the opportunity for independence, transport and recreation in the form of a bike.
“The reason why I love [DARA’s] Bike Program,” John said, “is because, when I first arrived in Australia, it was very difficult for me to understand how to ride a bicycle in Australia compared to where I came from.”
“When I came to Australia, riding bikes really helped me to navigate my environment and the community I live in.”
“It’s great to meet with other people from refugee backgrounds,” he continued. “It helps me to feel connected to my [refugee] friends in the community.”
But the program means more to its participants than just a complimentary bike. For them, it’s about being a part of a community, creating friendships and gaining independence.
“I like [the program] because [it helps me] to find new friends,” one participant said. “It can help me to get to the shops. Because I’m a student, it helps me to get to school and back.”
Another participant cited friendship as the main reason for her involvement: “I was at school and [John] came in and said, “We are the guys who can support you at any time.” I was interested because I was new [to Australia], so I said I would go and check it out. Doing a sport like riding a bike, it [helps me to make] new friends.”
DARA’s Bike Program operates solely off community donations. If you or someone you know has a bike they no longer use, you can donate it to DARA by contacting John Sandy on (02) 4979 1376 or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org
DARA's Bike Program