Riding the Rainbow – refugee solidarity

Finalist category: Community Impact Award

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Community Impact Award, Finalist, 2023

Three children on bikes are smiling at the cameraRiding the Rainbow is a global App for refugee integration and circular economy. The App, born in response to the influx of Ukrainian refugees in Europe, connects refugees with local residents by facilitating direct donations of second-hand items (sports equipment, musical instruments, games, electronics, books and more) to refugee children and youth. Objects not only get a new life but become a vehicle for integration, creating an occasion for individuals to connect and fomenting a sense of solidarity.

The platform allows individuals to register as donors or refugees. Donors post a photo of the type of item alongside a brief description. They then enter their approximate location: this information makes it possible to locate all available items in a specific city. Refugees can then contact the donor via a private communication channel within the app, so that the pick-up can be arranged at a mutually convenient place.

As one of the parents of a child who received one of the bicycles said “You cannot imagine how important it is for children who have survived the horror of war to return, if only for a moment, with this bicycle to a memory of their past lives”. In addition to providing refugee children an instant relief in the form of a sports equipment, musical instrument or game, the project also gave the opportunity to refugees to connect with the local community and foster solidarity. These connections resulted in support to refugees that went beyond the one-off donation, including job advice, referring children to football teams and more. As a result, children joined sports clubs, parents received useful advice, and the objects became “vehicles” for integration.

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