When NGO Bikeygees set out to teach female refugees how to ride a bike they were shocked by the demand. Now hundreds have benefitted from the scheme
Marta BausellsLast modified on Tue 16 Jan 2018 08.31 GMT
Emily is a 21-year-old Afghan refugee living in Berlin, and her best experience in Germany so far has been, without a doubt, learning to ride a bike.
“It gave me the feeling of freedom and self-confidence. I mean, it was just such a beautiful experience, being able to be in control and concentrate on just two wheels. I felt like a bird in the sky,” she wrote in a note of thanks to her cycling teachers.
Showing the Guardian that note on a wet Sunday afternoon in a modest park in Kreuzberg is Annette Krüger, co-founder of the organisation Bikeygees, which has been teaching refugee women and girls in Berlin how to cycle since 2015.
“We have one million new citizens in Germany, so the question is: do we want to have one million car drivers, or can we get one million new cycling fans?,” asks Krüger.
The unassuming traffic school where Bikeygees were teaching about 30 women that day, is hidden in Wassertorplatz, metres away from the famously gritty Kottbusser Tor. Each was coached by at least one volunteer instructor, who helped them ride around a circuit signposted with German traffic signs.
- To donate to Bikeygees, click here.