International Women’s Day cycling event expands

Cycling enthusiasts, from left, Ellie Clayton from ChangeMakers Refugee Forum, tutor Nicola Macaulay from Massey University’s Centre for Defence and Security Studies, Leidy Hurtado who took part in the event last year, Cushla Donovan from Revolve cycles and former postgraduate student Alex Neems who are participating in the 2018 cycling event to coincide with International Women’s Day.

For the second consecutive year, Massey University has teamed up with other Wellington organisations for a community event that invites former refugee women to improve their bike riding skills.

Coinciding with International Women’s Day on Thursday, senior lecturer Dr Negar Partow and tutor Nicola Macaulay from the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at the Wellington campus, have teamed up with the group including the non-governmental organisation ChangeMakers Refugee Forum, to offer the women new to Wellington the opportunity to try a new skill and meet others in a similar situation.

Cycle trails and simple obstacle courses will be set up at Kilbirnie Park as instructors from Revolve, ReBicycle Wellington and MUD Cycles, take the women through the cycling basics.

This year, similar events will also be held at The Esplanade in Palmerston North and the Sandringham Road extension in Auckland.

Undertaking such an activity was a great way for the women to take their minds off their own struggles to re-settle at a time when the plight of refugees and rising nationalism dominate world headlines, Dr Partow says.

It also highlighted Massey’s relationship with the city’s NGOs and wider community, and hopefully signalled to other Wellington businesses the importance of engaging in social activism.

“Settling into a new culture and facing the challenges of adapting to a different way of life can be incredibly stressful for former refugees who have fled conflict and destruction in their home country,” Ms Macaulay says.

Dr Partow adds: “Participating in social and sporting activities allows diverse communities to interrelate and exchange ideas about some of those challenges.”

Ms Macaulay says the main point of the cycling morning was for women to come together and have fun.

“Agencies have come together to make these opportunities possible. It’s important that organisations do more of this and reach out to refugee background populations.”



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