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!