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WOMEN'S CLUB

Every Saturday, Trampoline House is the women’s house. Women’s Club is a meeting space for a good mix of asylum seekers, refugees, women living temporarily in Denmark, and women who’ve lived here all their lives. Together, they create a community that makes them all stronger.

"Women’s club is a community. We feel at home here,” says one of the women before handing the mic to
another next to her on the sofa, who continues: "Women’s Club makes us stronger because we can share our stories and hear about the experiences of others. It helps us to find ways to deal with our problems.” This week, Women’s Club is being visited by The Bridge Radio to train for a live program that’s going to be broadcast from Trampoline House 2 weeks later. The women hope the radio program will reach even more women in the asylum centers, so they too know that they’re welcome in the house and are not alone with their problems.

Listen to the finished radio program here.
 

Exit Circle

Bridge Radio is the special activity for this week’s Women’s Club. On other Saturdays, Women’s Club hosts talks and debates, like the one with the football player Khalida Popalzai, who founded the Afghani national women’s team, and another with the Iranian/Kurdish freelance journalist Lawja Jawad Mohammad. Since January, there has also been a monthly session with Sherin Khankan from Exit Circle – a space for conversations where the women can process their experiences of psychological violence and social control.

As well as each week’s special activity, Women’s Club also offers help from women doctors and a lawyer specializing in immigration legislation. Every Women’s Club starts with a woman sharing their story, followed by an exercise session for everyone, before ending the day with a shared dinner. Women’s Club has also created the catering service Sisters’ Cuisine.
 

The Beginning

Staff member Tone Olaf Nielsen is the Women’s Club coordinator. She explains the idea behind Women’s Club, which started a year after the Trampoline House opened: "We were hearing lots of accounts from the women about feeling unsafe in the asylum centers, and that some of them were experiencing sexual harassment, even rape. They also didn’t always feel safe in Trampoline House.” As a result, house ran workshops for both men and women to discuss gender roles. "This led to a discussion of what kind of gender culture we wanted the house to have, and that we started to talk about each other more as family.”

It also became clear that the women needed a space of their own. After trying a variety of forms, the current Women’s Club – every Saturday afternoon from 2–6 pm (last Saturday of the month closed) – is really working. "It’s just exploded,” says Tone. "Whereas before maybe 6-8 women came, now there’s 20-30 women – every time!”
 

Different atmosphere

“The atmosphere in the house is different on Saturdays. The women really seem to enjoy that it’s their house. A lot of the women are being seen and heard for the first time. We get to know each other and create real sister solidarity together. This makes it possible for us to take care of each other if someone’s having a hard time.”

At the same time, Women’s Club is also an opportunity for women with kids to get out of the asylum centers and be with other adults, because there’s always childcare. "Because of the stressful environment they live in, the kids are always full on. But we’ve developed a childcare system so there’s a program for the kids every week, and they too are getting to know each other and make friends – a community just like their mums.”
 

Women's day every day

As Tone points out, another important outcome of Women’s Club is that the women have also started to use Trampoline House in other ways too: "Women’s Club means that the women are also more comfortable in the house on the other days of the week. They feel stronger and have established a community of solidarity that means they can support each other.”
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SPECIAL EVENTS

May 4, 5–6:30 pm: 
Info meeting on how to volunteer/do an internship in Trampoline House with Trampoline House director, Morten Goll.

May 13, 4–6 pm: 
“The Way through the Danish Asylum System," a presentation by Michala Clante Bendixen (chair woman, Refugees Welcome and founder of refugees.dk).

May 18, 7–9 pm: 
Screening of Australian filmmaker David Fedele's documentary The Land Between (2014)
in Trampoline House’s exhibition space CAMP (Center for Art on Migration Politics). The film offers an intimate insight into the desperate lives of African migrants living in the mountains of northern Morocco and dreaming of jumping the border fence to Spain for a ‘better life’ in Europe.  

May 29, 2–5 pm: 
Debate meeting about Denmark's new institutions for asylum seekers: tent camps, deportation camps, and closed prisons. Are human rights being violated in these institutions? Speakers to be announced shortly
.

June 1, 7–9 pm: 
Screening of Indian filmmaker George Kurian's documentary The Crossing (2015)
in Trampoline House’s exhibition space CAMP (Center for Art on Migration Politics). The film takes the viewer along the dangerous migration route of a group of Syrian women, men, and children to Europe, and exposes all the territorial as well as sociocultural borders they have to cross.

June 24, 3 pm–1 am:
Trampoline House's 5th birthday party. Live music / DJs from around the world / Barbeque & Bar / Events / Vox pop

More info about our activities and services at our website Calendar.

FACTS: ECONOMY

In the last newsletter, we wrote that there would only be money to run the house until July. With the grants and donations we have received since then, we are now able to run the house until mid-November.

Grants from foundations since January (DKK):
Foreningen Østifterne: 102,425
Illum Fondet: 50,000
Knud og Dagny Gad Andresens Fond: 50,000
Bispebjerg Frivilligpris: 5,000
Rød Fond: 5,000

Support events (DKK):
Support concert Loppen: 18,227
"Asyl 34" theater event: 25,000

Total monthly donors as of April 29:
328 persons

We still need your support!

VIDEO: THE HOUSE'S MISSION EXPLAINED IN 4 MIN.

NEWS: SUPPORT PARTY AT LOPPEN

On March 11, the music place Loppen at Christiania hosted a great support concert for Trampoline House. The performers were: Rytteriet, Tamala, La Folie Crew, Mambe, Kaka, Pede B, and DJ Pudsig. A total of DKK 18,227 were raised. Thanks to Loppen, the artists, the volunteers, and all the participants!

EDITORIAL: STOP THE CRIMINALIZATION OF REJECTED ASYLUM SEEKERS

Rejected asylum seekers are not criminal. They are just people that have been refused asylum in Denmark. Yet, they are increasingly being treated as criminals and put behind bars in centers run by the Prison Service.

Sjælsmark deportation center in Sjælland, the old prison Kærshovedgård near to Ikast, and Vridsløselille prison near Copenhagen. Three places where asylum seekers threatened with forced deportation are placed when their case is rejected. Now, a group of rejected asylum seekers have organized themselves under the name "Castaway souls of Sjælsmark.” Since the beginning of 2016, they have been protesting against their living conditions under the slogans "For the Right to have Rights” and "Stop Killing Us Slowly.” Amongst other things, they protest against the criminalization of asylum seekers, including the government’s decision to move them to the old prisons Kærshovedgård and Vridsløselille. They also direct harsh criticisms towards other conditions in the camps, including the lack of access to medicines and the removal of their cash benefits in favor of a canteen system, meaning they have no money at all. The conditions in the deportation centers are in many cases worse than those provided for convicted criminals, who have the option to participate in activities and socialize with others. Departure centers offer residents worse conditions than normal Danish prisons which house criminals, in that care has been taken to remove all opportunities for activities such as kitchenettes, training facilities, televisions, and so on.
 

Politically symbolic criminalization of refugees

Trampoline House supports the demonstrators’ call for better and more humane treatment. The operation of the deportation centers in Denmark is handled by the prison services instead of by the Red Cross or Danish municipalities, as is the case for all other asylum centers in the country. This carries a politically symbolic criminalizing of the rejected asylum seekers. The rejected asylum seekers from Sjælsmark deportation center are being moved to the newly opened deportation center in an old prison near to Ikast. The city council of Ikast / Brande Municipality has decided that asylum seekers may not use the buses which run into the nearest village, 7 km away, and that all residents must be in their cells at night. They are therefore totally isolated at the center, a situation approaching de-facto detention. This is just the latest example of the Danish government's systematic policy of isolation against refugees and asylum seekers. Originally, it was said that the rejected asylum seekers should only stay for a maximum of 6 months in the new deportation centers, and only if a deportation date had been arranged. However, we know of people who have lived in deportation camps for up to a year. This suggests that the authorities put people in deportation centers indefinitely – and regardless of whether or not they can be repatriated.
 

We punish without crime or trial

In Denmark, we do not normally punish people unless they have committed a crime. But when the Danish Immigration Service estimates that one is not entitled to asylum, apparently they now do an exception. Estimations that are often built on guesswork and coincidences. The rationale behind the deportation camps is that there should be additional pressure on the refugees, to force them to voluntarily return to their home countries. But when it becomes apparent that the rejected asylum seekers are still afraid to return home, despite living under the most degrading and miserable conditions, the government should perhaps consider whether it really is within a democratic and compassionate spirit to punish people who are not guilty of anything, but have simply been refused asylum in Denmark.

Support Castaway Souls of Sjælsmark here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1729179573981631

 

MEET ONE OF OUR INTERNS

“I am Jean Claude Mbombo and come from Congo. For the last year, I have been a volunteer in Trampoline House, teaching English to my fellow refugees and asylum seekers.  I am also teaching English in Center Sandholm. I have a university degree from Congo and have a background as a secondary school English teacher. I decided to become a volunteer, because all my life I have liked to share what I have with others. And language is the key to life all over the world.

When I first came to Trampoline House, I discovered that it was a social house, where you can feel at ease, feel safe, and forget about isolation. You can find friends and share cultures and experiences, which was very helpful for me. It is a democratic house, and the way they discussed things at the house meetings was interesting to me. The Trampoline House is like my second home!”

MEET AN EXHIBITION VISITOR

"I am Lisa Weber fro  Germany. My experience in visiting CAMP'S current exhibition The Dividing Line: Film and Performance about Border Control and Border Crossing was a very emotional one. The films bring you directly to the defining moments in the protagonists lives: Immigration interviews, attempts at crossing borders, surviving the boat journey through the Mediterranean Sea. I felt very touched by their strength and ability to persevere and not lose hope. The Dividing Line is definitely not your typical art exhibition where the gap between object and observer is clear, but manages to draw you into the films on a personal level. At the same time, it educates you about those huge obstacles that affect human lives which oftentimes remain invisible otherwise, and so I learned more about the different realities of others. I think that the exhibition is a contribution of bringing us humans closer together, because it makes the dividing line between the viewer and the protagonists weaker."
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