What could be more Dutch to give than… fietsen? The Dutch Minister voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking (Minister for Development Cooperation) Ploumen visited a refugee camp in Jordan, the Al Za’Atari camp, to be precise. Most of these are refugees from Syria, and the camp has been there for 3 years now. People start living there, rather than just searching refuge for a little while. Shopping streets emerged, and distances got longer.
So, one needs an easy and quick way to move. A Dutch person does not have to think long: de fiets! And so our Minister went to the camp and brought with her 1250 fietsen! And it does not only give the inhabitants of the camp a faster way to get to different places, but it also creates jobs! What if the fietsketting is broken? What if you have a lekke band? Or a losse spaak? A lot can break, and thus fietsenmakers are needed – people that will repair your bike! Locals take on the job, and so more find a worthwhile profession.
The idea is that the bikes will be rented out – another kind of business. It also ensures that everybody can benefit from them.
For a news report on this, check out this link.
Where did all these bikes come from? She brought them with her from Amsterdam. Bikes that are stalled at places where it is not allowed are sometimes taken away by the gemeente (municipality). They are then stored away, and the rightful owner can get the bike back. These bikes, however, were never retrieved – and now serve a great cause!
On top of these bikes, the Netherlands also gives 147 million euros for this dire humanitarian situation. Water is short, schools are very full, and more refugees are still on their way.
The Netherlands plans to help the infrastructure of the area with this money and with its Dutch expertise of city and infrastructure planning – starting with the bikes? We will see!
What do you think about this idea? Do you like biking, and do you think it is a good alternative to a car or public transportation?