Asylum life in Langeland, Denmark
(Photo: Denmark, Langeland, spring)
An asylum seeker is a foreigner, who is applying for the right to live as a refugee in another country and to be protected by this country, but who have not yet been recognized as a refugee. A refugee is a person who have been granted asylum, and who therefore, have been granted a residence permit. This type of center assures home and different services for refugees for a period of 600 days. Immigrants have left their home countries voluntarily, to seek employment or opportunities elsewhere while refugees are forced to leave their countries because of war and political persecution.
In 2004, Denmark received only 1.1 percent of all asylum seekers in the EU. Since November 2011, The Red Cross is running 12 asylum centers on Zeeland and in Jutland. In addition, Jammerbugt Municipality is running two centers, Thisted Municipality is running three centers and Langeland Municipality is running one center. This brings the total to 18 centers in Denmark.
Many refugees work. However, it is more difficult for refugees to get a job than it is for other citizens. About 30 per cent of refugees in Denmark suffer from trauma, meaning that refugees end up on incapacity benefits more frequently than the rest of the population. At the same time, refugees’ poor knowledge of Danish and low level of education means that they are often employed in fields of industry or service. These jobs are very sensitive to the market and are typically the first to disappear in times of crisis.
On every Monday i was preparing creative workshops, teaching them various hand made techniques, creating different “pieces of art”, jewelry, paintings, household items etc.
As a form of Art Therapy, these workshops are designed to get women and children to use a part of their time to be creative, to relax and help them free themselves from the problems that are facing. For many of them, it’s a great deal, just to be surrounded by other women just like them, just to have a cup of tea and and look at one’s painting, or listen to each other advises. Others are very enthusiastic about learning artistic techniques and create their own beautiful products and take them to their children.
It’s overwhelming for me to see the way they are able to find joy and happiness in 3-4 hours of workshop, taking in consideration their experiences, condition and suffering. These women are able to smile, laugh and work together, learn how to work with clay, how to fold colored paper and decorate boxes, they are open to anything that it’s new and beautiful, and they are eager to learn more.
I am happy when i see the difference that these activities has on them. Some don’t know Danish. Some don’t even know English. But when we are talking about creativity, about art, there are no barriers. I am using printed tutorials, images, videos and mimics in order to help everybody understand what are we working with and what the final result should be. When someone sees that you have patience, soon they will get rid of their insecurities and work along with you.
If one is shy today, and next week will come an hug you at the end, thanking you for spending your time teaching them something, I can honestly say from experience, that it’s the best outcome that needs to be treasured.
I am blessed to have this experience, I am happy to work with people and help them, and i strongly believe that It’s very important to make everyone feel countable and needed, and i am doing my best to fulfill this belief.
Live beautiful everyday!