Violet reports on Lancaster ride

Continuing our series of posts by Bike2Malawi riders, Violet Hejazi writes:

“I am a law student who is also a former refugee. I come from Syria, and I am one of the riders of the #Bike2Malawi team organised by the Mamie Martin Fund in support of girls’ education in Malawi.

After a long time spent at home in lockdown doing things I had to do, it was finally the time to do the thing I chose to do!

On a sunny, non-lockdown day, and along with very cool friends and for a great cause, I cycled by the coast of Lancaster and had the best chips in Morecambe. We took some photos and ate some cake.

I found a jasmine tree that filled my heart with joy and made me feel at home. We said hello to the wee kid on his tiny bicycle as we pushed our pedals to raise money to help girls in Malawi pursue their education and secure a decent future for themselves and their families. Going up and down semi-hills, which to me felt like proper steep hills, I was reminded of the struggles that young girls in Malawi face daily and the significance of making education accessible and obtainable for them. I reflected on my childhood and, despite all of the obstacles, how lucky I was in having had the opportunity to be in school and not worry about accessing education.

I am taking part in cycling 100 miles to raise awareness and fund this project, hoping that one day no child will be deprived of their right to be educated and can grow up to become independent, successful members of society.

This was the first 16.5 miles of the 100 miles I will be cycling over the summer, which I am very excited to complete and share stories about!”

Violet’s fundraising page can be found here.

Cycling is liberation for Violet

Violet Hejazi has signed up to take part in our Story on Bikes cycling project, which we are optimistically planning to start on 31st July. Meanwhile she is using her daily exercise slot to get some cycling practice in Pollock Park in Glasgow.

She loves the wild garlic there which she eats with salad and some cooked grains. Violet is from Syria and neighbours broke her bike when she was nine years old because they disapproved of girls cycling. So her bike is a symbol of freedom for Violet in more ways than one. She was given a bike by Bikes for Refugees Scotland last year and has been supported in learning to ride and maintain it by Soul Riders in Glasgow.

You can encourage Violet by making a small donation on her fund-raising page. Why not think beyond lockdown and consider cycling with her? You can book on here

Trustees in Malawi

Our trustees, Moira and Angie, arrived safely in Malawi on Thursday. Happily, so did all their luggage. Having successfully navigated the sim card process and changed money they had time for some R&R in Lilongwe before heading north on the bus on Saturday.

So Friday was spent shopping in the Old Town Mall where they bought some new Christmas tree decorations for our tree in St Andrew’s and St George’s West in December. Then they went to the Wildlife Conservation Centre which is a must-visit for any visitor to Lilongwe. As well as being able to take a tour of the centre and its animals, there’s a restaurant in the park. Sitting sipping a ‘yummy’ (seasonal fruit smoothie) in the shade surrounded by the sounds of the birds and the smell of the BBQ was bliss.

The guided tour gave lots of information  about the saved animals and the conservation work of the centre. Angie discovered that one of the newly qualified Malawian vets who she recently met during their visit to Scotland had done her placement here at the centre! ‘Tis a small world!

Moira liked the centre’s shiny and strong bicycles which facilitate the staff getting around the park.