New friendships for first-time Syrian cyclists in Berlin

“I love how cycling feels. Today it was great to ride so far around the park. Soon I want to ride Berlin’s streets like the locals.” Syrian refugee Shiraz, 27, is learning to ride a bike.

Two month ago Shiraz fled fighting in Aleppo, with her family, and she is now adapting to her new life in Berlin – on two wheels. She’s part of a weekly ladies cycling group that provides asylum-seekers in Germany with donated bikes, moral support and new friendships.

For Shiraz, the adjustment hasn’t been easy. Of course, she misses her home, her university and her friends back in Syria. And more than that, she’s lost hope that she’ll be able to return home: “If Syria ever becomes safe again of course I will think about going back – it’s home. But I don’t have much hope of that happening soon. The situation gets worse every day. It’s seems only a dream that it will ever get back to how it was before.”

Today, she’s simply happy to be safe with her family: “When you find yourself in a place that isn’t safe, there’s no time to say goodbye to everyone. But we just have to be patient and wait for a better time when we get to join the German people and be part of the German culture.”

Shiraz is committed to adapting to life in Germany while her family’s asylum applications are processed – and she plans to explore her new city with her new friends and her bicycle.


Read Shiraz’s story:


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