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From Sandholm to own apartment

After four years of life in Sandholm, everything looks and smells different for Lume Ulliri

“I feel as if I died and now live again” said Lume.
Lume Ulliri, 42, and her twelve-year-old son Dori and eight-year-old daughter Ida, came from Albania and have lived in Sandholm Center in Denmark for four years. For the last several  months they have been living in an apartment in Birkerød – a town north of Copenhagen. Their apartment is on the ground floor of a duplex called Villa “Chicago,” with another family of asylum seekers living above them, on the first floor.


Lume with her two children Dori and Ida in their new home. (Photo: Yolanda)


“Many things changed in just one day. For years I lived in Sandholm and I was very excited the day that we moved here. As we entered the apartment, I felt as if I was entering a new life.”

The school and practice While it is a new life, some things remain the same. “The children still go to Danish school in the nearby town of Blovstrød, where they have gone  for three years. They go by bus, a few stations. I continue with my praktikum (internship) and learn Danish in Sandholm.”
“What is also important,” Lume says, “is that the children have their own room and can invite their friends over as they have been invited. Now, my children are less shy and don’t feel different.”
The small things that mean so much Lume’s family can now eat their breakfast on a real dining room table, a breakfast which Lume made in a real kitchen. Dori and Ida can learn their school lessons in their room and nobody will disturb them by screaming, knocking on the door, or entering  the room without invitation. There is no more fear that anyone, especially the children, will get caught up in the fighting, and that every scream could be the scream of your child.
With a smile on her face, Lume says, “Now, we enjoy the little things, that sometimes mean so much, such as waking up in a real bed and drinking the first morning coffee while looking out the window at the street and garden.”
Sharing daily life You can share a little piece of this life if your friends who live outside the camp invite you to visit them. Lume did this, and shared with me and my daughter those “little” but very valuable things. A smell and taste of ordinary life.

Who can live outside the asylum centers? It is not anyone who can move out from the centers. The possibility is mostly for families with children, who have stayed in Denmark for more than 18 months after being rejected asylum. The 18 months rule will be reduced to 12 months if the proposed asylum law by the government will pass through parliament.

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