Trampoline House went to the People’s Meeting (Folkemødet) again this year in June to participate in the democratic debate on the asylum process and refugee rights in Denmark.
By Masoumeh Mirzaei, volunteer with Trampoline House at the People’s Meeting
This year, we have been a fantastic team at the People's Meeting. One of our events this year was an interview with a man named Goody, who just opened his own bike shop, and is the father of a son of six months. He told that he wants to expand his business and about how he struggled to make it happen. But now he knows the principles, and he is there to help people who cannot apply for other jobs because they cannot speak Danish.
Another event in Trampoline House at People's Meeting was the house meeting every afternoon where interns, volunteers and the Director and other people from everywhere gathered together to talk about their opinions and come up with new solutions.
We had those meetings in order to include people into the democratic practice of Trampoline House, and on the last house meeting on Saturday we had the best one. There were many people coming and they really loved it, especially the talking stick, which we use for every house meeting both inside and outside of the house.
They called it ‘the magic stick’ and they said everyone put their power, energy and opinions into the stick and in their opinion, it is something incredible.
And it's a good point that in our house meetings we let people have the stick and allow their opinions to be heard. That is a different approach than others, who just stand on the stage and don't give the chance to the audience to react.
We had a guest from Dansk Folkeparti who attended one of the house meetings. She said she wants to learn about everything. She and her husband adopted a child from Chicago, and they taught him Danish. She said everything is not black and white for people in Dansk Folkeparti, as others think about us.
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. That is also why Trampoline House is going, to show that we are just people who want to live a peaceful life.
That is also why we had an event with Nabila and Malak so that they could tell their story about being in the asylum system in Denmark. Nabila is 28 years old and from Morocco. She has been in Denmark for 12 years with her daughter, who was born here, and they are still in the asylum system.
While they were telling their story, someone from the audience asked Malak about her future dreams. She said now she is only thinking of going to school like a normal person and having a safe future. Nabila’s dream is just to have a safe future for her daughter. I remember the man who asked the question started crying.
Malak is not the only child who is in this situation. There are many children like Malak in the asylum system, and those are the stories we are at the People’s Meeting to tell people face to face.
Our job as members of this family of Trampoline House is to talk about what's going on in the asylum system. People can never feel exactly what we have been through, but at least we are fighting for our rights and it’s worth fighting when you see someone in the audience, who was in an asylum center herself, telling us to keep fighting, and that people on the outside of the asylum centers are fighting for us.
We didn't reach an answer, but democracy is a process, and we must keep trying to have a democratic dialogue.
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"