Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Riding towards friends and belonging in a new country

A program that provides bikes to recently-arrived refugee families is helping children find friendship, connection and balance in their new homes.

Ground-breaking physicist Albert Einstein famously said “life is like riding a bike, to keep your balance you must keep moving.” His words have resonance for these young people starting new lives in Australia.

The children receive recycled bicycles through a program run in Western Australia by our Humanitarian Support Services, which supports recently-arrived refugee families.

“Every one of these bikes deliver a sense of belonging,” Humanitarian Support Services Team Leader Assadullah Khurrami explains.

“Many of the children felt socially isolated from the rest of the community. Their school friends have bikes to get around on. Without one themselves some of the children didn’t feel like going to the park and mingling with their friends.” 

A recycled bike, supplied to Red Cross with the support of social enterprise #Dismantle, makes new connections for the new bike owners.

HSP Case Manager Ashraff Mohammad set up the relationship with Dismantle and is hoping to receive 30 more bikes by the end of the year. 

“Most of the bikes are assembled and built by youth in custody. This is part of their rehabilitation program to encourage them to engage in a more meaningful activities. They are also being told about the kids who receive the bikes, so that they get more encouraged,” Ashraff says.

All of the children who received one of the latest batch of 20 bikes arrived with their families as refugees in the last nine months. 

Many come to Australia from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea with their mothers and siblings, having lost family in wars and conflicts.

“They really do appreciate it,” Assadullah says.

The other goal of the program is to show how the Australian community is welcoming to new people arriving here.

Assadullah Khurrami, Humanitarian Settlement Program Team Leader

Assadullah said the team hopes that one day when the young people grow up they will want to give back in the same way.

Find out more about the programs we run to help give refugees a good head start on a new life.