Syrian Zaatari camp refugee builds bicycle car from scratch

Syrian Zaatari camp refugee builds bicycle car from scratch
On the dusty streets of Jordan’s Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, a bright red bicycle car can be seen speeding by, often trailed by a group of children.

The bicycle car was built by Syrian refugee Yousef al-Masri, who wanted an effective and safe way to transport his children and goods across the camp.

Because of the camp’s vast footprint, bicycles have become one of the most sought-after items among Syrian refugees.

But al- Masri’s creation is a unique take on the traditional two-wheeled bike, that also protects the driver from dust and wind.

The 5.2 square kilometre camp is the kingdom’s largest and home to around 85,000 Syrians fleeing the country’s five years of Assad war.

Al-Masri, who worked at a hospital in the Syrian town of Daraa before fleeing Syria in 2013, said living in the camp forces one to become resourceful,

"When we first came to the camp, there were only tents and no modes of transportation. I decided to build something like this to enable me to carry out my chores, to transport things and my children, to go to the market and to the mall. To be able to get whatever I need easily," he said.

This isn’t the first car he has built. He previously built one that was sold to another refugee in the camp.

He typically spends 15-20 days building a bicycle, using discarded materials found in the camp

"The materials I used were old tent rods, as well as discarded bicycle parts from the junkyard. I would take the body of a discarded bicycle and use the parts I need, then connect those to the rods. I would also use pliable metals from the caravans. And this car windshield was an old caravan window," he said.

"I like old cars, classic cars. So I wanted to copy the same old style but using a bicycle," he added.

Jordan currently hosts over 1.4 million Syrian refugees, with most of them living in urban areas and around 100,000 Syrians in camps.

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