‘On the 24th of February, my family had to leave Ukraine after the Russian invasion. Before then we lived a normal life, my eight-year-old daughter had been going to school and I had been working in one of the best companies in Ukraine. But unfortunately when the war started we did not feel safe, and I made the difficult decision to leave Ukraine and my family.
‘On the 26th April me, my daughter and my mom arrived in the United Kingdom. As newcomers we had no experience of London life, and we missed much of our previous life and habits, one of them being bike riding. My daughter started riding a bike at the age of three, we explored all the routes and parks in Kyiv, and we missed it very much.
‘Our host did his best to help us, he found out about the Bike Project and made a bike application for my daughter. In early June we went to the Bike Project to pick up our new bikes, I did not tell my daughter ‘til the last minute where we were going, it was a real surprise, I have not seen her so happy and excited for a very long time.
‘Having a bike here reminds us of our previous life and gives us a taste of it. We feel freedom riding bikes! Our bikes allow us to explore London, be independent and keep healthy. I would love people to donate their bikes to make another person’s dream come true. Unfortunately refugees have come to the United Kingdom not because of a good life, all of them have their own hard and sad story.’
38, a Ukrainian refugee
Since its launch in 2013, The Bike Project has provided almost 10,000 bikes to refugees from over 30 countries – but there’s currently a waiting list of 250 people in need of a bike.
According to Transport for London, over 27,000 bikes are abandoned every year in London alone, and thousands more are rusting away – unused and unloved – in sheds or stairwells across the UK.
To help The Bike Project to provide more bikes to refugees in need, donate a used bike at one of the charity’s drop-off points or host your own pop-up drop-off point in your community.