Celebrating International Mother Tongue Day at The Bike Project

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We're really proud to have our HQ in one of the most polyglot cities in the world.

Londoners speak more than 300 different languages – and Birmingham's not far behind, with over 120 different mother tongues spoken (and that's not even including Brummie!).

Language – spoken, written, signed – is without doubt the crowning glory of what we call 'culture'.

A culture without its own language, without its own poetry, music, literature, theatre, comedy and even swearing, would be rendered stultifyingly dull and slowly wrung out of existence.

That's why we're celebrating International Mother Language Day.

UN International Mother Language Day poster

Here at The Bike Project we know that the language you speak is incredibly important, no more so than to a refugee arriving in what can be a very strange new country.

Imagine arriving in Afghanistan with no words of Farsi, Pashto, Uzbek, Turkmen, Balochi, Pashayi, Nuristani, Ashkunu, Kamkata-viri, Vasi-vari, Tregami, Kalasha-ala, Shughni, Munji, Ishkashimi, Wakhi, Brahui, Arabic, Qizilbash, Aimaq, Pashai or Kyrgyz.

It'd be pretty overwhelming buying a loaf of bread, let alone applying for asylum!

Over the past six years, we've donated bikes to over 6,000 refugees from 78 different countries, speaking a joyous array of different mother tongues – Amharic, French, Arabic, Tigrinya and Farsi just for starters.

Between them, our mechanics and office staff speak Farsi, Arabic, Italian, Turkish, French, Dutch, Somali and even English!

And, as you can imagine, translators are incredibly important human beings for us.

That's why we have a talent development programme in place to train and hire people with experience of being a refugee who can welcome newcomers in their own language.

Because nothing makes you feel more at home than chatting to someone in your mother language.

So raise a glass (of tea) and join us in a toast to mother languages around the world –

Cheers! ለጤናችን! Chúc sức khoẻ! Gëzuar! ንጥዕናና! Santé! !في صحتك Mabuhay! Будьмо! Şerefe! في صحتكم! and Noş!

Written on: 21 Feb 2020 | Author: David Charles

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