Interning in Trampoline House: A personal, social and activist development
Ellen and Emilia are interns in Trampoline House. They say they learn a lot, both in terms of personal development and work experience, all while getting to know different people.
By Amanda Enggaard Dybdal
The soul of Trampoline House rests in a large part on its many creative and enthusiastic interns, who bring to life the everyday activities of the house. Ellen and Emilia are two of them. They are both interning in Trampoline House’s Capacity Building team since the beginning of 2019.
As Capacity Building interns, Ellen and Emilia help organizing the asylum-seeking interns in Trampoline House. “We coordinate and supervise the internships. We make sure that all the different tasks in the house that need to be done are overseen by someone and we make sure that people come in and do their job,” Ellen explains.
“Your voice is as important as any other person’s voice”
In many ways, the internships provide both Ellen and Emilia with many benefits. Not only because they get to obtain work experience in a field that is relevant to their interests, but also because they experience both personal and social skills. Through a flat hierarchy, Trampoline House strives to include everybody on equal terms: “Everyone gets to participate in the organisational and practical stuff,” Emilia says, “and your voice is as important as any other person's voice and this feels really nice to be part of.”
“It’s really nice to feel like you’re being a little bit proactive,” Ellen adds, “because there is so much right now in Denmark that pisses you off every day.” Emilia agrees: the internship “sort of empowers you in an activist kind of way.”
Close to many different people
As an intern in Trampoline House, you’ll get to spend your days with the other interns, volunteers, the staff and everyone else in the house. This provides a great insight into the workings of the house and helps Ellen and Emilia getting acquainted with many different people that they might not have met otherwise. For Emilia, interning means “that we get to know every user of the house, which is very nice because we really stay in contact with people every day. I think this is the best part of our job.”
“You are surrounded by friends all the time,” Ellen adds. “It makes it fun to come to work every day. I look forward to it when I wake up in the morning.”
Not like other internships
Just as much as Trampoline House benefits from the many enthusiastic souls of the house, the feeling is mutual for the two Capacity Building interns: “I would like to add that 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,” Emilia remarks.
Trampoline House welcomes every qualified applicant to send an application and join the house, either as a volunteer, visitor or an intern, like Ellen and Emilia.
Trampoline House’s many activities are possible thanks to donations from individuals, who each donate between 50 and 500 kr. every month. If you, your partner or your mother is also able to support our work with a recurring donation, it would really make a great difference to our work.
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