Coburg volunteer helps provide transport for asylum seekers

December 08, 2013

Mohammed with Geoff Lowther, a volunteer at the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, who is collecting bicycles for the asylum s...

Mohammed with Geoff Lowther, a volunteer at the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, who is collecting bicycles for the asylum seekers in the northern suburbs who have no means of transport. Source: News Limited

A COBURG volunteer has teamed with an Iranian asylum seeker to provide much-needed transport for some of Melbourne’s most isolated.

Geoff Lowther, a volunteer at the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, and Mohammad Zadeh are collecting and repairing second-hand bicycles for residents seeking asylum.

Mr Lowther said the idea spawned after they discovered a bicycle could solve Mr Zadeh’s isolation and transport problems.

Mr Zadeh, a 30-year-old former professional swimmer and factory worker, is living in a Lalor unit on a bridging visa having fled Iran fearing religious ­persecution.

With great sadness he left behind his wife and seven-year-old daughter, who he fears will not be able to join him in Australia.

But the new project has provided him with a positive way forward.

 “My daughter really loved riding her bike and when her bike had a problem I would fix it and she was very happy,” Mr Zadeh said.

“There may be girls here from refugee families who would like a bike but can’t buy one. I can’t do anything for my daughter, but maybe I can do it for another girl.”

Mr Lowther said a lot of asylum seekers were living in the northern suburbs in cramped conditions and barely survived on about $6 a day.

“Isolation, depression and a lack of transport are major problems,” Mr Lowther said. “They are so spread out all over the place, so to get a community connection is very difficult.

“Providing them with a cheap means of transport will allow many to get out and about, breathe some fresh air, meet other people and get to doctors’ ­appointments.

“Access to a pushbike has the power to bring a little sunshine into great many lives.”

Mr Lowther said they had gathered about 20 bicycles but needed many more, particularly men’s bikes.

The pair were thrilled to receive a $500 donation from the Rotary Club of Craigieburn and hoped others would help.

1 Comment

Filed under Life after detention, Public Reaction/Perception Towards Asylum Seekers

One response to “Coburg volunteer helps provide transport for asylum seekers

  1. Many asylum seekers in Australia do not get access to free public transport, healthcare or work rights while their claims are assessed. It is great that people like Mr Lowther are helping address the imbalance that is forced upon them.
    You can support asylum seekers by playing the Citizenship Board & App Game http://www.citizenshipgame.com to test your chances of gaining citizenship in your own country, and raise awareness of the rights of asylum seekers at the same time. All profits go to agencies helping asylum seekers gaining refugee status.

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