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Café welcomes asylum seekers

In St. Heddinge in southern Zealand there is a social cafe for people who feel isolated from the regular society. 

By: Rohit

 

"We have asylum seekers and foreigners. We always welcome everybody, so everybody can come and find if there is something to do."
“We have asylum seekers and foreigners. We always welcome everybody, so everybody can come and find if there is something to do.”

When you enter the cafe Stevnen in Algade, you are met with a smile and the smell of coffee. You sense the warm welcome and see a bunch of people involved in different activities while others are gossipping and enjoy coffee and cake.

Leader and coordinator for daily activities, Line Holst, explains the meaning and purpose of running the cafe

“The foremost purpose of this place is to include people who are somehow isolated from the regular society; for instance due some kind of mental or physical disabilities, unemployment, or lack of social network. We have adequate space and building, furniture and of course some ideas. We let them participate in various things like having coffee and cake and talk with other people, knitting, weaving, playing music and much more”.

When did the cafe start?

This particular cafe was started and introduced to the public in June 2012.

Is it only the specific types of people you mentioned that are allowed to come here?

“Any kind of people irrespective to any disability, any social or residential status can come here right from the street with any new idea and join the other people inside the cafe and can share his or her idea with them. If you feel lonely you can come here, if you have some kind of social distraction you can come here, if you have some new innovative and constructive idea and you want to do it you can come here. We have asylum seekers and foreigners. We always welcome everybody, so everybody can come and find if there is something to do.”

 

A piano
A piano inviting musical guests to play it…

 

Can you tell a little more about the different activities here?

“People can be engaged in any innovative and constructive thing, we always welcome new constructive ideas. People can knit, weave, play music, we have a big piano, they can read newspaper or magazines, they can just sit down with a cup of coffee and talk to other people,we have also some skilled people who always help in construction and renovation within the premises. We have language cafe for foreigner who want learn danish and it’s absolutely free for them. We have big garden, in summer we are going to grow various vegetable in that garden. We have a very good second hand shop for household things and books.”

Which organisation funds this cafe?

“This cafe is basically being supported and governed by KFUM’s  Sociale Arbejde, but it’s not funded entirely by it. Part of my job is also to explore the sources for sponsoring this project and that includes commune, concerning ministries, private organisations or enterpreneurs. We also get a lot of gifts and small and big donations. Apart from these sources we have the small second hand shop as I mentioned above where people can buy furniture, and other household things”.

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