Shimita’s story contains the reality that most natural-born U.S. citizens will never fully understand: What it is like to lose everything to violence and war. Every part of Shimita’s life was lost. Not only was he forced to leave behind his beloved people, but had to risk everything and undergo unspeakable hardship and violence to seek refuge in a place unfamiliar in every way.

Shimita Image 3Shimita is from the Democratic Republic of Congo and lived in Tanzania for some time as a refugee, with his mother, sister and brother, before he came to the United States.

He arrived in Salt Lake City about four months ago and was brought to the Collective to get a bicycle. He was referred there by his job developer at Catholic Community Services.  Shimita needs a bike to get to work in case he misses the bus. He says that since receiving the bike, it has helped him a lot.  He just found full time work at AMSCO and reliable transportation is important to him. Shimita likes being in Salt Lake City and says it’s very beautiful and the people are nice.  He says he is still adjusting to the cold, which he is not used to yet, and he wants to see the Great Salt Lake.

At the heart of our community are people like Shimita and organizations like Salt Lake Bicycle Collective.  In difficult economic times, food, clothing and shelter are common survival essentials, but modern survival also requires reliable transportation. In 2015, the Collective’s Goodwill program provided 1,390 ready-to‐ride bikes through referrals from 45 other local non-profits.

Click here to follow the Heart of Our Community blog. Throughout June we will be sharing more stories about the programs at Salt Lake Bicycle Collective and some of the people’s lives who have been impacted by their services.

  1. Salt Lake is doing wonderful things to help these refugees. Do they try to become citizens or do they want to return to their homelands?

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