On 29th January 2019, the ‘Hugebike’ initiative run by the Autism-Europe’s member Oltre il Labirinto Foundation has won the award organised by the NATO Charity Bazaar (NCB), for “one of the most innovative and efficient of projects” at the annual NCB ceremony which took place at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) HQ in Brussels.
‘Hugbike’ is a unique tandem concept designed for autistic people with extra-long handlebars that extend from the front to rear so that the person in front is literally hugged by the person at the back. The specially-designed bike, which is literally controlled by the driver at the back, allows persons on the autism spectrum and other disabilities to sit at the front in complete safety, under the close control of the person sitting behind them. The bike is the result of an idea conceived, developed, and produced by a group of autistic people assisted by Oltre il Labirinto.
The project attracted the attention of NCB’s jury which has unanimously decided to award the Italian charity Oltre il Labirinto as winners. Since 1968, the NCB has selected the most relevant and deserving projects among hundreds of entries sent from all over the world.
In 2019, Italy was represented by the concept designed by Oltre il Labirinto, which epitomises and embodies the universal values of assistance, innovation and philanthropy that characterize the spirit of this historic and authoritative organisation. Innovation, social inclusion, and efficiency, are the three main characteristics that are typify this non-profit organisation who come from the city of Treviso.
The award was withdrawn by the Secretary of Oltre il Labirinto Carlo Giustini and Dr. Paola Matussi, Psychologist and member of the Board of the Foundation.
Secretary Giustine responds “This award clearly tell us that good ideas are the backbone of social welfare”. Also, Dr. Matussi adds “Thanks to this recognition we can give the joy of a healthy and beneficial bike ride to dozens of autistic youngsters in complete safety.”