Last week we were thrilled to welcome Jane Garvey from BBC Woman’s Hour to one of our Pedal Power training sessions.
Pedal Power is a chance for refugee women to learn how to ride a bike, and to enjoy cycling and each other’s company.
Jane interviewed Clarence, one of our awesome Pedal Power participants and shared her story of asylum in a piece for Radio 4.
When I left Nigeria, I was just out of a very abusive relationship. I had no means of survival any longer. I had a miscarriage and I almost lost my life.
It was either I stay back in Nigeria and die, or take up the opportunity (to move to the UK) and stay alive.
But there was a catch to it. I had to come with the person’s younger brother. The younger brother would be like a dependent on me. He wasn’t a very nice person.
After a difficult start to life in the UK – only bearable at all thanks to the kindness of strangers – we welcomed Clarence to The Bike Project and enrolled her on our Pedal Power course.
Cycling gives you freedom. I can ride to anywhere I need to be. Cycling gives you wings, you’re flying. It brings such happiness and joy.
I get food from some charities as well because £37.75 is nothing to survive on. It’s really, really difficult to live with that amount of money.
But the fact that I have a bike that helps me with transportation has actually made it a little bit easier.
The Bike Project gave me a sense of belonging, like I’m part of a community. I can be someone, I can make changes to my environment. I do over 30 hours of volunteering – it helps me to keep going.