The project brings together people in Norway and Greece – all through bicycles. Photo: Greek Starfish Foundation – Starfish-Asterias

[dss-hidden]A Bike is More Than Two Wheels

Today is the international day for bicycles, celebrating cycling as a boon to health and the environment both. According to the OpenBike project — which is a collaboration between the Norwegian and the Greek branches of the Starfish Foundation — a bike can be a lifeline. “A bike, notes the Norwegian Starfish Foundation, is often so much more than just a bike”.

In places like Lesvos, a bicycle can ease the isolation of asylum seekers in remote camps, provide a solution to limited public transportation, and even help tackle environmental challenges. The project shows how a bicycle can be a valuable tool for integration and education.

Thousands of bicycles have been given a new life. Photo: Norwegian Starfish Foundation – Solidaritetsforeningen Sjøstjerne

Bicycles as Bridges

OpenBike is far more than a typical bicycle project. By teaching essential repair and maintenance skills, it fosters a sense of unity between refugees and local residents. At its heart lies the creation of dedicated bicycle workshops, serving as vibrant social hubs where individuals from diverse backgrounds can come together.

They have repaired over 1000 bikes at the Mavrovouni refugee camp – developing knowledge about bicycles and fostering a sense of community.

The OpenBike project have seen the development of bicycle repair shops. Photo: Greek Starfish Foundation – Starfish-Asterias

A Pedal Towards Employment

As part of this initiative, a monthly bike event has been introduced to cover a wide range of cycling topics. Additionally, the project offers two distinct bike courses: one focusing on learning how to bike and navigate traffic safely, and another weekly bike mechanic course.

Beyond providing transportation, the project empowers individuals to interact with their environment in a sustainable way. As the Greek Starfish Foundation states, “by improving their mechanical skills, we hope they can use those skills to get a job.” There is no doubt that the impact of OpenBike is wide-ranging.

Watch their YouTube video to learn more about the creative project OpenBike.

Thank you to Greek Starfish-Asterias and Norwegian Solidaritetsforeningen Sjøstjerne.

Interested in bilateral cooperation? Check out our list of open calls here. Looking for a partner? Find one in our database here