Mama Agatha

Riding a bicycle is a powerful tool that can provide women with independence and empowerment, and that's something that one woman in the Netherlands has taken to heart.

Known as Mama Agatha, this 59-year-old Ghanaian lady runs a bicycle training course for migrant and refugee women in Amsterdam, arguably one the most cycling friendly city in Europe.

She is the focus of a new documentary film that follows her and her class of learner cyclists over the course of six weeks, watching as they progress from pushing the bikes to a colourful graduation ceremony that launches them onto the streets of Amsterdam.

Fadi Hindash, an Arab filmmaker who recently moved to the Netherlands, directs the film. He was fascinated by Mama Agatha, who moved to Amsterdam 30 years ago and knows what the women she teaches are going through.

"What Mama Agatha gives these women is more than just the ability to cycle. She gives them the courage to explore their own skills, interact with their environment and empowers them to find their own way into society – on two wheels."

Describing the film, Hindash says "It's an optimistic, colorful and very international story about finding a home away from home and the liberating feeling of riding a bicycle. It shows how urban cycling policies can empower women and have strong social effects."

Visit the Mama Agatha website for more information on the project. The film is currently still being made, and you can pledge your support for the project if you are feeling inspired.

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The story of the Afghan National Women's Cycling Team