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Maryam in the training hall

Maryam: “Kickboxing builds the character”

In Sandholm asylum center Maryam learns the art of kickboxing. She hopes she inspires other women to join her

By Ismael

Maryam Markws has been living in Sandholm asylum center since last year. She is 28 years old and an asylum seeker from Iraq. Maryam cannot speak. She is known by the residents of the center as a helpful and nice woman, and she sometimes helps in the cafeteria serving food, cleaning and doing others tasks.

Learning to protect yourself as a woman
About two months ago, in the evening, a man disrespected Maryam and grabbed her breast in the hallway of his apartment building. That made Maryam very angry: not only because he grabbed her, but because she is mute, she couldn’t complain and cry out, and the man took advantage of that. Maryam’s reaction was spontaneous; she threw a few punches on his face to make him more respectful.

The police have opened an investigation into the case, but Maryam has since the incident taken up kickboxing to protect herself.          

New Times met with Maryam at Sandholm and asked her about the kickboxing.

Why do you train kickboxing?
“I like to practice this kind of sport. Maybe it´s a violent sport, but it gives a strong body and it builds the character.”

Have you been doing kickboxing before coming to Denmark?
“Yes, I did kickboxing in Iraq before I came to Denmark.”

Do you feel more safe when you practice kickboxing?
“I feel safe and secure in myself. And also, when I am among boys, it also makes me more sure of myself. Kickboxing helps me a lot in my life, and it gives me strength of character.”

Do you think other women should learn kickboxing?
“I hope so! Many girls feel admiration, when they see a girl practicing marcial arts, and often it makes them want to do the same. I think that other candidates at kickboxing will come to train with me. I hope that in the future we can have more hours for training, and maybe have a coach. I hope we can become a big group.”


Call out for volunteer coach to teach kickboxing
The kickboxing team is looking for a volunteer coach to teach them kickboxing! For information on how to become a volunteer coach, please contact the office in the Sandholm asylum center.

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