Emad Mishco Tamo looks excited at his bright green mountain bike and talks about how he looks forward to summer cycling adventures with other Yazidi refugees in his community.
For the 14-year-old boy, the bicycle stands for freedom, something that just a few years ago was snapped off of him and his family when they were taken by Iraqi militants and held for three years.
Now, he is behind a movement to bring new bicycles to all Yazidi refugee children in Winnipeg.
"I saw how many children they suffered when they were captured by Assys. In so many kids they were crying, they were dead, we saw a lot of things," Emad said by translator Khalil Heso, president of Yazidi Association Manitoba.
"Since I promised to no children I will see that I will help."
Emad lived peacefully with his family in an Iraqi village until the summer of 2014 when it was attacked by Islamic state millions.
Emad was separated from his mother, Noha Mehla Zagla, as thousands of members of the Kurdish-myetical Yazidis were displaced. His mother was held for two years but, during an attack on the compound, she was finally able to escape from her children. She made her way to Canada and settled in Winnipeg.
She thought her young son was dead.
But after some yazidis were released in Mosul in 2017, an image appeared online from a young boy covered in dust sitting in the front seat of a vehicle.
It was Emad.
Action was quickly taken to maintain the teenager with his family in Winnipeg. When he arrived in his new home, in a new land, a bicycle was waiting for him.
"Emad has come from three years of being hostile, he does not like anything like a bicycle or basketball or soccer", Steve Maman, founder of the liberation of Christian and Yazidi children of Iraq (CC), said in an interview with Montréal .
He was the one who had both Emad's bike.
"To him a bicycle is something that he did not expect to be his own, living in Kurdistan as a kid … I could imagine a child like a bicycle would be something very important – a dream."
Emad and his family worked hard to make a life and find happiness in Winnipeg, but there are still struggles and worries in Iraq.
Emad's uncle, HoJi Tamo Raffa Tagler, shows a wall in their apartment where the faces of 12 family members hang on a poster. They include Emad's father who Zahler says is found in a serious matter. They do not know what happened to most of the others.
When Maman was charged with Emad in a phone call last summer, he learned the bicycle was stolen. Maman knew how much it took to the teenage flutter, so he offered to buy him another. Emad insisted he would just want another one if they could find a way to get all the Yazidi refugee children in Winnie upg bikes.
"He wanted to … Help victims of genocide because he's thinking about other children who have nothing," said Maaman. "It is impressive, I wanted to be able to fulfill his will from him believing in himself."
At first it was as if it could be a hard feat to pull off, Maman said, but soon things began to fall into place.
It was just a scandal that he would connect with Bryan Phillips, a car enthusiast of Terre High, Ind., Who bought the Maman's engine parts to repair an old – but nice – Bentley. While the two people were discussing the cars, the goal of getting bicycles to reflexive children came up.
Phillips said, he did not think twice about the Bentley for sale to help fulfill Emad's dream.
Mrs. Said took the profits from the car's sale and bought 100 bicycles to be delivered to refugee children for a special Yidid holiday celebration next Friday.
Maman said that it is important to fulfill Emad's wish to encourage him to continue helping others and to show how he can achieve something.
As Emad and his cousins, dreaming of warm spring days, prevent the ride from a bike in the apartment, Hesso smiles and say these bikes will mean everything to the children.
"The Ezidi community, we are not going to forget that."