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Born as a refugee

Doha Rahmani was born one year ago while her parents were living in asylum center in Roskilde. Now they are celebrating her one year birthday in another asylum center in Avnstrup

By Marion 

Pale, curious and a little bit surprised, Doha Rahmani spent her one year old birthday with her 35 aunts and uncles who are close friends of her father on 7th November. Her father Khalil Rahman, an Afghan asylum seeker arranged a birthday party for her in the afternoon at 17:00 pm in Avnstrup asylum centre.

Doha was born in the Roskilde asylum centre on 7th November, 2015. Her parents did not plan for her birth. Before her father, Khalil came to Denmark with his wife, they have been married for six years without having a baby. They went to many hospitals and his wife even had operations, but nothing happened. They could still not have a baby. Accidentally, his wife was pregnant after they moved to Roskilde asylum centre. “It just happened. We had a baby that we really wanted to have.”

Dohal moved to Avnstrup asylum centre from Roskilde asylum centre with her parents at the end of October. They used to have a bigger room in Roskilde, and Doha felt happy and healthy there. “Since we moved to Avnstrup, we had a smaller room and space. My daughter had problems all the time. She cried too much and we could do nothing about it,” says Khalil.

Now Doha lives in a small room in the “container” building with her parents, becomes the neighbour of the other asylum seekers moved from Roskilde. She feels better when she can see the people she has already been familiar with. Even though the room is smaller, her father thinks that he could do nothing about it because “this is the rule of the asylum centre.”

“I asked myself: how can we change our minds and make us happy for a little second? That’s why I made this birthday party for my daughter and invited friends,” Khalil says.

Lot of guests
Two Afghanistan families came and enjoyed the birthday party, and the rest guests were asylum seekers from Syria, Morocco and Africa living in Avnstrup asylum centre. “It was a very good party for us. The baby is good. It was the first time for her to see a lot of people at the same time and at the same place. So she cried a little bit,” says Khalil.

Doha had three birthday cakes made by her father on her birthday. Many dishes which Doha could not have were provided also by her father to cheer the guests. The aunts and uncles sang and danced after the dinner. That was the moment that Doha could see people looking happy.

Doha could have her own room when she was born if it was in her home country. Her father , Khalil expressed that if it was in his own country, he would invite 500 people to attend his daughter’s birthday party and do anything that he could to provide a happy life for her. “But now we are here, “ says Khalil, “we can not do anything. I can not buy some beautiful dresses and shoes for my baby. This is very important for the baby. Because different colours, different dresses and shoes are good for her mind.”

Not many one-year-olds
Born as a refugee, Doha has no problem with food and accommodation in Denmark. The problem for her is how to grow up. “She is only one year old and does not know anything,” says Khalil, “ If she wants to go somewhere to play with other kids, to be free to enjoy her childhood, that can be the problem. “ Right now in Avnstrup, there is no where for the 1-3 year old kids to go. They can only stay with their parents in the asylum centre.

Doha is expected by her parents to be a doctor or engineer when she grows up. Just like every father and mother, Khalil has a beautiful plan for his daughter. However, he can not be optimistic until his family can be granted, and so is his daughter.

According to Khalil’s opinion, it will be in a very hard situations if those people who are asylum seekers would have babies during the asylum process.“We are not in the sky, nor on the ground. We are hanging up and don’t know what’s going on,” says Khalil, “As a man, I don’t care about myself, but I care about my wife and my daughter. They should be happy.”

An angel
Doha is an angel to her parents. Her bright eyes and cute smile will disperse all her father’s frustrations after his whole day practice in the working place. Her birthday of cause becomes something very important for the family’s life in the asylum centre. “I will never forget that day- the 7th of November,” says Khalil, “ Every 7th of November, I will enjoy the time and do something for her and my wife.”

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