I’m David and I’m Chair of The Bike Project. Pooja tells you: “For anyone looking for a way to help, The Bike Project is a wonderful charity which donates bikes to refugees and asylum seekers.”
The Jungle and The Bike Project are a tandem. Like the young people in the book, we know the value of a bicycle for unlocking space; access; time; health and sociability. The Bike Project brings more of life within the reach of refugees and asylum-seekers in London.
In 2016, we refurbished and gave away 950 bicycles. This year we want to give away 1,200 bikes to refugees and asylum-seekers. We are supported by lots of people like you – who give bikes and time and money; and we have a brilliant founder and staff team.
The book is gripping, moving and stormy. It doesn’t comfort you with a happy end; but it does show you many wondrous bonds that make friendship and resilience. And Pooja gives us some brilliant prose. I love this description of Leila and Mico sulking after an argument – “the space between them itching with the prickly silence of remembered words”.
The Jungle is about presence and disappearance; about young people struggling for their place against the greatest odds.
We must take a stand. We cannot accept their disappearance – from the political agenda; from our consciousness; literally from the face of the earth.
Pooja’s novel is a powerful voice and a great read.
Thank you Pooja – and all of you – for your support.