By Elizabeth Meade Howard

Sixteen refugees in Charlottesville are now cycling where they need to go thanks to the IRC. The bikes were purchased from Amazon through a one-time grant from Team Rubicon, an international disaster relief organization.

The bikes were distributed to refugees at the local IRC on September 24th. Recipients also participated in a bike safety clinic provided by the Charlottesville Fire Department.

“Bikes are a critical tool to allow newly arrived refugees to become more self-sufficient, and they open up the door to new employment opportunities that may not be as accessible on foot,” says Hannah Scully, Community Engagement Coordinator for the IRC in Charlottesville.

The men and women receiving the bikes came from Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ahmed Abdulazeez came from Iraq to Charlottesville in May. “With the bike,” he says, “I now go to the market, to my son’s school and with my son to the park to play. I have applied for jobs at UVA hospital and Walmart. The bike is a big help to me.”

Ahmed participates in the IRC’s Matching Grant program, which supports self-sufficiency and job empowerment, adds Scully. The bike will help Ahmed with employment opportunities so he can be on the path to supporting himself.

Volunteer working on bike with client
IRC Volunteer, Kenny, helps IRC client with their new bike.
Photo: IRC