When people flee their homeland and arrive in a foreign country, staples like food, water, clothing and shelter are critical. But another important need is often overlooked: transportation.
Last month, the Danish Cyclists’ Federation in conjunction with the Danish Ministry of Transport launched a new initiative, “Give a bicycle” (Giv en cykel in Danish), that aims to help Ukrainian refugees in Denmark get a bicycle.
“As cyclists, we know how the bicycle provides freedom to get around,” Jens Peter Hansen, chairman of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation, said in a statement.
Denmark is considered to be one of the most bicycle-friendly cultures in the world; cycles are an everyday means of transport for many Danes.
The Danish Cyclists’ Federation is a member of the European Cyclists’ Federation, which announced the program earlier this month in its newsletter.
The goal of the “Give a bicycle” program is to facilitate the exchange of used bicycles by putting Danish citizens with spare bicycles who wish to donate them in touch with Ukrainian refugees in Denmark. The donated bicycles will help refugees more easily explore their new surroundings and integrate into everyday life.
“I hope that many of our members and other volunteers have the desire and opportunity to help people who have had to leave everything get a good start to their stay in Denmark,” Hansen added.
Those interested in supporting the initiative can donate used bikes or become a local bicycle intermediary, a “broker” who helps match donated bicycles with newly arrived Ukrainian refugees nearby.
“It’s powerful to experience the openness of people around the country when it comes to welcoming Ukrainians,” Trine Bramsen, Danish Transport Minister, said in a statement.
Bramsen said the donated bikes will give many of the refugees freedom of movement and help them quickly become part of their local communities. “Denmark is a cycling country and that’s why this initiative to help get people cycling is important.”
In addition to making it easy for people to donate and receive bikes, the program’s website, which is in both Danish and Ukrainian, includes a section about Danish cycling culture, traffic rules, and other tips to help ensure the safety of newcomers.
For more information, click here.