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Even though we started off the year by declaring Trampoline House in danger of closing, we managed to mobilize popular support and strong partnerships that enable and improve Trampoline House's future work for early integration of asylum seekers in Denmark.
2016 was a fateful year for Trampoline House. We began the year by officially declaring the house in danger of closing, and at the same time, we witnessed a humanitarian catastrophe on the political level that included the jewelry act, border control, stricter asylum policies and deliberate deterioration of asylum seekers’ conditions. The result was evident amongst the asylum seekers that we meet: increased poverty, isolation, and forced passivity.
Popular support ensures Trampoline House’s future activities
Nevertheless, 2016 turned out to be a fantastic year for Trampoline House. We went from 50 recurring monthly supporters to more than 300. They are citizens in Denmark who have decided to contribute so that we can continue our work. Thanks to this popular support, our calendar is full of social activities, democracy workshops, language and culture classes, communal dinners, asylum and integration counselling, medical counselling and skills development every week - all activities that take place in a community where everyone contributes and participates, everyone respects each other, and nobody’s a victim. That’s how good integration happens.
Our method of integration was acknowledged in 2016 by the award of both the Livia Award and Bispebjerg Frivilligpris, and Trampoline House’s exhibition space CAMP / Center for Art on Migration Politics won Kunstkritikerprisen 2016. Throughout the fall of 2016, CAMP’s three first exhibitions were also exhibited in the National Gallery of Denmark. That was an important confirmation that migration is a complex theme, and that its representation reaches far beyond the parliament in Christiansborg.
Our future work is also to a large extent made possible by Roskilde Festival’s support after Trampoline House and CAMP participated as official partners at the festival in 2016. It was a great experience for everyone who participated to represent Trampoline House and speak to the festival’s many curious guests.
Civil society supplements the municipal integration efforts
Integration is about more than jobs and language. Civil society therefore has an important mission in supplementing the municipal efforts and creating a meaningful integration that focuses on both employment, democratic practice, system awareness, social network, and respect.
But the government is right that, to a large extent, integration has to happen through the job market. During the next three years, Trampoline House’s holistic method of integration will focus on finding internships and regular work to the asylum seekers that have internships in Trampoline House and want to contribute to the Danish society.
That’s a big task that we can’t solve on our own. Luckily, we’ve met some strong partners throughout the last year, who share our ambitions of opening up the job market for asylum seekers: Together with the workers’ union DJØF we’ve started a mentor network for highly educated asylum seekers; with the support of Tuborgfondet and in collaboration with the consulting agency QVARTZ, we’ve developed specific tools and a volunteer network for mapping out asylum seekers’ skills; and together with the integration-specialized consultancy firm LG Insight, we’re working on Trampoline House’s strategic development within the area of early integration to the job market.
Integration is everyone’s responsibility
Trampoline House exists because we have a vision for a better Denmark. We believe that integration can succeed if we focus on revitalizing our democracy and active citizenship. Integration is everyone’s concern and responsibility. Integration means that we grow together into a better and stronger community, a new “us”.
Thanks to a little more than 300 individuals’ recurring donations, we can now continue working for this mission until the end of 2017. We’re very grateful that they have carried us through this year’s financial crisis. With their - and hopefully others’ - help, we’ll also continue in 2018 and the following years!
Professional legal counseling equips refugees with the means to navigate and participate in the Danish society. Some are dealing with asylum rejections, while others are unaware of their rights to maternity leave. Across a diversity of situations, Asrin Mesbah offers legal advice on a daily basis, in the safe environment of Trampoline House.
At Trampoline House, job training isn’t just job training. Trampoline House provides a safe space for social engagement and the consideration of individual needs. This is highly valued by the job training agency Servisio, which since April 2019 has directed citizens to Trampoline House.
50 of around 60 families in deportation center Sjælsmark have written an open letter to Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Minister for Immigration & Integration Mattias Tesfaye. In the letter, they reject a Sjælsmark employee’s claim that most them want to stay in Sjælsmark. “It is indefensible and unethical to put words in our mouth,” they write.
“My daughter worries a lot about being deported. By investing in my education, I can help her dare to believe in a future in Denmark. And it’s good for me to take my dream education.”
“This is a life experience that I would recommend to anyone just because it teaches you so much; staying at Trampoline House is a nice experience and you get to learn a lot. Personal change and achievement, lessons for you and your life; it’s not just like any other internship that you get to do in other NGOs or organisations.”
Trampoline House offers free Danish classes for asylum seekers, refugees or other citizens who want to learn the Danish language and culture. Everyone is welcome.
New course on entrepreneurship makes it easier for refugees and asylum seekers to find a job or start their own business.
“I come to Trampoline House to learn Danish and to learn about the Danish society, so I can build my life. If you can learn it, it means you can do it.”
Trampoline House has seen a lot of reconstruction since last summer, improving the space for children’s activities, socializing in the café and focused work.
“All in all, it is giving a space for the groups of individuals which both Denmark and Copenhagen is actively trying to phase out via oppressive economic, social, and immigration policies.”
On 8th of March, women with and without refugee background came together to discuss their rights and possibilities.
Trampoline House’s new legal counselor focuses on making immigration law more understandable for asylum seekers and refugees. She offers free counseling every week.
At Trampoline House’s house meetings, the participants are practicing democratic dialogue. Meanwhile, the government and the Danish People’s Party are restricting refugees’ possibilities for integration.
The new Women’s Class empowers women by sharing stories and discussing feminism and human rights.
Ping Pong is more than just a popular sport. By playing ping pong, you can practice living in accordance with Buddhistic and philosophical values.
The government’s refugee policies don’t make sense on a humane, democratic or economical level. We have to resist!
“Please listen to our voices. We do not want our loved children crying every day because of the horrible living conditions. Our children are asking, why are we living here? Asking, what shall we eat? We, parents have no answers but to cry also ourselves. We don't want our kids to suffer any more.”
Since October 25, children and parents have been boycotting the cafeteria food in deportation center Sjælsmark. They ask for the center to be closed.
David is originally from China and now volunteering in Trampoline House. He has written a poem about hope.
Everyone who comes to Trampoline House now have the possibility to get help to find a job. Every Wednesday at 10am–12pm, volunteer job counselors arrange a job workshop that will strengthen the participants in their pursuit of the job market.
Support from Novo Nordisk Fonden, Lauritzen Fonden og private donationer, has made it possible for Trampoline House to hire a Children’s Club Coordinator. "The Children’s Club is to function as a nice place, where these children can find ease, security, positive relations, predictability and happiness," says Sara Ipsen
“The kids with citizenship got all that is needed, but not children who are growing up in the camps. I'm just sorry they don't have the same rights as Danish citizens. Also, they don't have the same opportunity, freedom, house, food, generally normal life.”
“There is discrimination on both sides. She wasn’t completely comfortable telling us that she was from Dansk Folkeparti. That’s why it’s an important thing for us to go to People’s Meeting and talk with people that are different from us.”
“If someone would ask what I miss the most from home, I would tell them I missed the smell of my mother and my brother. And the voice of the man I loved.”
“Before I started coming to Trampoline House, I was just in Roskilde. Sometimes I went shopping for maybe half an hour, and then I returned home to watch TV.”
“There’s a different atmosphere out here. It’s not about learning Danish or getting help with your legal issues.”
"You can get mental health and body health from ping-pong" Meet David, who’s behind Trampoline House’s weekly ping-pong workshops
"The kitchen before was very small and wasn’t prepared for this amount of people, but now it is good, and we are working more professionally."
"Some of the kids have had a traumatizing past, but they feel very safe here"
"Together, we can create a new paradigm". Get an overview of Trampoline House's activities and finances in 2017