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More Mobility for Asylum Seekers

In the self-help bicycle repair shop “Dr. Radinger” asylum seekers are provided with bicycles and spare parts by student Toni Scheider

  • Toni Scheider (in the front) belongs to the team of the students’ self-help bicycle repair shop “Dr. Radinger” in Bernsdorfer Strasse 41. Photo: Press office image archive/Christian Schenk

They cover thousands of kilometres on foot and walk around the world in hope of a better life. In order to support the mobility of asylum seekers after their arrival in Chemnitz, the refugee campaign “Save Me” and the students’ self-help bicycle repair shop “Dr. Radinger” in Bernsdorfer Strasse have started a project: asylum seekers are provided with bicycles. “The self-help repair shop, founded in 2012, is widely used, primarily by students. When the flow of refugees increased, we decided to start a campaign to help them. We received donations from several bicycle shops as well as from private persons, and were able increase our range of bicycles and materials, which now benefits mainly the asylum seekers,” says Toni Scheider, who is studying at the Technische Universität Chemnitz and is managing the self-help repair shop together with two fellow students.

Rooms, tools, instructions and spare parts are provided from donations. In this way numerous asylum seekers have been supplied with bikes. “Often refugee families come to us. Communication is not always easy because of language barriers, but up to now we have muddled through and repair work has been successful in the end. It’s also great to see how the exchange between students and refugees works out. The students often leave their repair work and help the refugees first,” says Toni Scheider. Most of the donations are second-hand bikes, which need to be prepared before use. In the winter semester 2015/2016 Dr. Radinger opens its doors every Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. “To maintain the weekly opening hours we are always looking for enthusiastic support. Anyone who is interested and has time to get involved for a few hours per week is warmly welcomed. It’s the same with all who clear out their cellar and do not know where to put the old bike or the dusty spare parts. We are grateful for every single donation,” stresses the bicycle enthusiast.

Toni Scheider combines his voluntary work with his hobby and his wish to help. When he was a child he preferred his bike to his feet as far as mobility was concerned. “I was enthusiastic about bicycle holidays and built up my own bikes. So I soon developed the technical know-how,” says the student, who nowadays is enrolled in the Sports Engineering degree programme, and adds: “Cycling is often a topic in our lectures and the self-help repair shop offers me another way of combining my degree with my passion.” During the semester break in summer 2015 he turned his back on Dr. Radinger for a short time and devoted himself to a great sporting project. Together with two friends he took part in the world’s oldest bike marathon: Paris-Brest-Paris. Within 86 hours he mastered 1,200 kilometres and an altitude of over 10,000 metres. “In addition to succeeding on the race course, I was fascinated by the number of different nationalities taking part and the implicit helpfulness of the many volunteers during the race. Often women or whole families stood along the route and offered bottles of water, which everybody could take away. A friendly gesture of the kind I also appreciate so much in our self-help repair shop. The purpose is to help people – regardless of their nationality or cultural contexts.”

More information on the self-help repair shop: http://www.facebook.com/FahrradselbsthilfewerkstattRadinger or via email: drradinger@Safe-mail.net

(Author: Katharina Preuß, Translation: Katharina Thehos)

Katharina Thehos
21.12.2015

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