Project donates bicycles to refugees
NGO Wheels of Peace collected and donated 34 bikes to foreigners last month and intends to do it again. The vehicles allow increased mobility to the immigrants.
São Paulo – A non-governmental organization in the Brazilian capital Brasília is working to improve mobility for refugees living in the city. Rodas da Paz (Wheels of Peace) distributed 34 bicycles to those immigrants in April, and it plans on replicating the effort. “We have a strong desire to do it again,” Raphael Barros Dorneles told ANBA. He is a member of the NGO’s advisory board and coordinator of its Doe Bicicleta (Donate a Bicycle) project.
In order to distribute bikes to refugees again, the organization needs supporters and sponsors. The Donate a Bicycle project makes these donations sporadically to various social groups, such as public school students, rural communities and children awaiting adoption, among others. They collect the bikes from donors and reform them before distributing. The NGO needs funding for spare parts and maintenance.
“The big advantage is the ability to move around; the social right to mobility enables access to other rights, like education, work, healthcare,” Dorneles says, explaining that the refugees ride the bikes to get to their Portuguese classes, to go to work, to save the bus money, or even to go to medical appointments. Wheels for Peace had distributed bicycles to foreigners before, approximately two years ago.
The action last April was a partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Institute for Migration and Human Rights, the Embassy of Australia, and the boy scouts group Moraes Antas, with additional collaboration from volunteers. The effort was part of international Good Deeds Day, organized by the social platform Atados, which connects volunteers and different organizations. The refugees who were given the bikes are from countries including Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Congo, Ghana and Pakistan.
Since the inception of the Donate a Bicycle project, in 2004, some 5,000 bikes have been donated, according to Dorneles. The NGO Rodas da Paz does not work solely to encourage people to ride bicycles; it does all sorts of work for a peaceful coexistence between different modes of transportation. Its actions include traffic education for children at schools. In 2015 and 2016, the NGO is relying on backing from the Embassy of Australia in Brasília.
Donate a Bicycle project
NGO Rodas da Paz
*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum