An asylum seeker from Zimbabwe who makes a five and a half hour round trip every day from rural Co Monaghan to Dundalk Insitute of Technology (DkIT) says he is determined to get an education to change his family's future.
Archie Sita's long commute came to light after the Irish Refugee Council (IRC) issued an appeal on Twitter for a bike to be donated to help with his journey.
Mr Sita, a married father of two who arrived in Ireland in 2013, had been walking 45 minutes from St Patrick's Accommodation Centre, Drumgoask, to Monaghan, from where he takes a bus to DkIT.
He said: "I'm passionate about getting an education after spending five years in Direct Provision doing nothing. I want to improve my life so that I can play a positive role in society and be able to support my family when I am qualified.
"Sacrifice has become second nature to me, which is why I find it easy to do the long commute every day.
Mr Sita, who is studying mechanical engineering, is one of 50 people in the asylum process who are receiving financial assistance from the IRC this year to access further education.
The IRC's Education Officer, Charlotte Byrne, said: "Sometimes the blocks to education are not just getting into college, it can also be the physical act of getting to college.
"It was only when I looked at Google Maps that I realised the extent of the journey Archie was making. We put out an appeal on Twitter for a bike to help him and had such a great response. We had offers of bikes from all over the country."
#Bicycle Needed 🚲🚲🚲— Irish Refugee Council (@IrishRefugeeCo) September 27, 2018
We are looking for a bike for a student who is walking 45min before a 2hr bus journey to get college every day. A bike would make a huge difference to this person's daily commute - pls email caroline@irishrefugeecouncil if you can help#EducationAccess 🚲 pic.twitter.com/3yPJAnGW1f
Mr Sita is now the owner of a foldable bike, donated by the Dublin Cycling Campaign.
"I'm so excited. It's so handy and will definitely make my commute easier. Being able to get an education helps me forget about life in Direct Provision and has given me a sense of hope for my family's future," he said.
Ms Byrne said: "There aren't many Direct Provision centres within walking distance of colleges. We know there are people travelling from one side of the country to the other to get an education.
"Education is so important to them. It means that when they get their permission to remain here, they can get a job, pay their taxes and become part of the community."
This asylum seeker's long commute to college just got easier, following a Twitter appeal pic.twitter.com/rGR3sS2WVy— RTÉ News (@rtenews) October 12, 2018