Refugees Receive Bicycles to Facilitate Mobility

Refugees from several countries that live in the Federal District received today (10) 34 bicycles to facilitate their movement through urban spaces. The bicycles are used and have been repaired for donation by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Rodas da Paz. The project is done in partnership with the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Migrations and Human Rights Institute (IMDH), an NGO that helps migrants.
Rafael Barros, coordinator of the donations project and counselor at the Rodas da Paz, says the idea is that refugees have an accessible means of transportation. “[With the bike] you no longer need to spend on public transportation. In addition, there are people who can not afford to buy a car. Cycling is also a way of getting to know the city, “he says. Luiz Fernando Godinho, an Acnur spokesman in Brazil, points out the social benefits of cycling.
“It is a fundamental factor of mobility, which also helps in the social integration of people.One of our main goals is to make them integrate into Brazil, the community where they live, “says Godinho. The spokesman says it is the second time the UN agency mediates the donation of Wheels of Peace to refugees in Brazil. “Two or three years ago, there was another donation,” he says. He further explains that the IMDH made the selection of who would receive the bicycles.
For the 21-year-old Pakistani Haron Ali, the bicycle will be useful for traveling on the way home to the subway station in Samambaia, a town about 30 kilometers from Brasilia. “I go by subway to the bus station [of the Plano Piloto, bus terminal in the central region of the capital]. From there, I’ll take buses to the university, “he says, who attends nursing at the University of Brasilia.
Haron came to Brazil two years ago, accompanied by his brother. Their parents had been living here for five years. The reason, according to the young man, was the reality of conflicts in the city of Peshawar, where the Pakistani army fights Islamist militants. The Colombian Arvey Mina, 52, also preferred to come to Brazil to stay in Cali, where he lived.
“There is a lot of lack of security, guerrilla warfare, armed conflict,” he says of where he lived. The peak of clashes between armed factions in Colombia was in the 1980s and 1990s. However, Arvey says, there is still violence. He came to Brazil three years ago, accompanied by his wife and son.
The family lives in Fercal, in Sobradinho, 20 kilometers from Brasilia. Arvey worked in a cement factory, but says he was dismissed because of the crisis. “At the moment, I’m unemployed.” According to him, the distance between the bus stop and his house is great, hence the need for a bicycle. The Colombian won one and the other eight year old son.
The mobilization for the donation of bicycles took place in the City Park, central region of Brasilia, and was part of the World Day of Good Actions. The date was created in Israel in 2007 and, in Brazil, its commemoration is organized by the NGO Atados. The organization links people to social organizations through a voluntary work platform  on the internet .
On Sunday, in addition to donating bicycles to refugees, Good Day included a meeting of self-employed traders, yoga classes, cultural presentations and  workshops on topics such as reuse.