Open letter from a mother in Sjælsmark
This letter was delivered as a speech at a demonstration for better conditions for children in deportation camp Sjælsmark on December 4, 2018.
By Eden Girma, mother and rejected asylum seeker
Hello everyone good morning.
Thanks for coming to support us, and to all different organizations who have joined to organize this demonstration I would like to say thanks.
First of all, no matter how we are still suffering in Denmark. Our hope did not die yet and we will continue our fight for our right to get protection and residency in Denmark.
Our question is, what have we done? What fault do we have to be jailed in Sjælsmark prison? Have we committed any crime in Denmark?
Our asylum case is rejected. Is that a crime?
Why are we kept by prison guards? Why must our kids cry? Why are our children scared by the everyday life in Sjælsmark? We have a right to seek asylum in Denmark and we also have the right to live a normal life until solutions are found for our cases.
This is Denmark not USA. This is Denmark where human rights should be respected. Denmark should not be inspired by Trump policies by making children prisoners. We believed Denmark to be one of the most powerful protector of especially children rights. We believed our children would have the right to education and health care in Denmark.
But we are not excited with the Danish society any more. We are kept in isolated prisons like Sjælmark and most Danish people are afraid of us because the government presents us as criminals. Do you think this is a best solution, no it's not. We are parents and we carry a big responsibility for our children. We want them to have a better life, safety, health care and good education.
We are fighting for the future of our children and we resist any attempt to force us back to our home countries because our lives are in danger there. No one runs away from home without a reason. We are here to escape danger and find safety. None of us one chose to die on his or her journey to Europe but that decision to die comes when we are no longer fighting our bad government or decide to follow the rules of the dictators.
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.
Fix the problem! Shut down Sjælsmark! Fix the problem! Shut down Sjælsmark! Fix the problem! Shut down Sjælsmark! Fix the problem! Shut down Sjælsmark!
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.
”Yes , you’re right,” Vandamme answers when I say that he always looks so happy. Yet the smile slowly fades and is replaced by a serious look in his eyes. “I smile. My heart is not happy, but I smile anyway.”
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.
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.
David is originally from China and now volunteering in Trampoline House. He has written a poem about hope.
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
"It’s not just Inger Støjberg who’s responsible for this. It’s all of us. And that’s why we’re here today."
Hunger strike at the Deportation Center Kærshovedgård: “Close the camp! We are also humans!”
Asylum seeking children and their parents from Trampoline House call for a campaign focusing on the right to a safe childhood for children in the asylum system.
It's the best kept secret in the asylum law that asylum seekers have the right to work in Denmark. Trampoline House is going to ensure that right with the new, job-focused initiative 'Next Practice'.
"There were politicians who came and spoke with local people, something that is the opposite of in my country, and I think Danish people should be proud of their democratic culture"
"Trampoline House is a beginning of life and work"
"It’s a pleasure to be involved in a dynamic environment where everyone is part of a big family"
"We try hard to teach with a focus on how to get by in Danish society in everyday life"