Aged 29, Hala decided she wanted to learn to ride a bike. With the help of The Bike Project she learnt how to balance and ride in parks. Hala holds a MSc in Global Health and Development and is passionate about non-communicable diseases and health policies. She has an interest in the physical activity gender gap, which she fights by cycling, volunteering and serving as a Trustee for The Bike Project.
Hala Mkhallalati said…
"In 2019, at the age of 29, I decided I want to learn how to ride a bike and be an active commuter! I learned how to balance and ride the bike in parks and quiet roads with the help of The Bike Project. I had to stop the lessons though to get my MSc dissertation done, so I did not really learn how to cycle on the roads!
"However, I took advantage of the low number of cars on the roads, thanks to the recent lockdown, and trained myself on how to survive the roads, 'London's roads'! Sounds like a huge achievement, doesn't it? Since then cycling means a lot to me, it is liberating, refreshing.. clean, and energetic! Cycling around London has helped me overcome all the challenges I had to face and am facing as a newcomer here in the UK who lives on her own without family. It also has helped me cope with the pandemic and the lockdown.
I believe in women's empowerment. I believe in the power and the great mental and physical health benefits of physical activity. I believe in the green good that can come from shifting to active transportation. I believe in cycling
"I am a Syrian refugee. I hold an MSc in Global Health and Development. I am very passionate about non-communicable diseases and preventive health policies and measures. I have a particular interest in the gender gap in physical activity, which I fight by cycling, volunteering, and serving as a Trustee for the Bike Project.
"I believe in women's empowerment. I believe in the power and the great mental and physical health benefits of physical activity. I believe in the green good that can come from shifting to active transportation. I believe in cycling!
"The Bike Project offer women's cycle training for refugee and asylum seeking women called Pedal Power. Hala joined our classes in late 2019 having never cycled before.
"When lockdown interrupted our lessons, that didn't stop her from continuing to support the project. She helped us with crucial admin and engagement work as we transitioned to online support and started to develop 1-1 cycle training in lieu of our group lessons.
"She also used this time to overcome her own nerves about being on the road and increased her confidence, exploring quieter routes in London. She now cycles the children that she looks after to school.
She is a powerful figurehead in our community who not only inspires other refugee and asylum seeking women to overcome their fears and defy social norms; but also understands how to engage with this diverse group
"Since resettling in the UK, Hala has achieved a masters in Global Health from University College London. We are thrilled that she will be bringing that expertise alongside her lived experience as a refugee to her newly appointed role as a trustee at The Bike Project. She is a powerful figurehead in our community who not only inspires other refugee and asylum seeking women to overcome their fears and defy social norms; but also understands how to engage with this diverse group.
"Without women like Hala, taking on leading roles and speaking authentically for the struggles of refugee and asylum seeking women, our charity could never be so impactful. We can't thank her enough."