Meetings In a Box is a creating art project which is initiated in cooperation between Red Cross, Center Gribskov, Grundtvig Højskole and the NGO ‘Alverdens Børn’. 12 minors on the run met with 10 students at Grundtvig Folk school, in Danish Højskole, in order to create art together.
By Marion and Mustafa
“We are trying to communicate with hand gestures”
Kate Wu Drost is a 21 years old student at Grundtvig Højskole. She came to Denmark with her mother from China when she was 12 years old.
She is very happy to participate in the project of creating art together with refugees, meeting them and having dialogues with them.
“It gives us a chance to know their stories. A lot of Danish students have never met a refugee in person from another culture like this,“ says Kate.
Kate thinks that it is incredible that these children have fled out of their countries and even though they have been through a lot, they can still laugh. “They are nice people and like to work with us. It’s just amazing that even though we don’t speak the same language, we are trying to communicate with our hand gestures,” Kate says.
“I feel good because we understand each other”
Ankel is 21 years old. He is from Eritrea. He has been in Denmark for two years and he is a refugee too. Six months ago he was sent by the local municipality and become a student at Grundtvig Højskole.
When he met these children from the asylum centers, he said: ”I feel good because we can understand each other. That’s why I come here and help to work with them.”
Meetings in a Box is lead by artist Mariana Viegas. Children can put everything in the box by creating the models or painting pictures inside the boxes to express their feelings.
“I am doing something meaningful”
Malou Graff-Ellekilde is a Danish student at Grundtvig Højskole. She is 21 years old. Malou thinks that it is a great idea to be creating art with minors refugees from the asylum centers. It hasn’t been done before at Grundtvig Højskole.
“I’m surprised how easy they start talking to us and how easy it is to get them to smile,” says Malou.” I feel that being with them is an important way to spend my time. I could have been going to parties or else instead, but this is much more meaningful to me.”
Malou takes the creative art project as a meaningful thing to her because she thinks that she can make a small difference by what she is doing now.
“He is happy to have someone here who knows his family”
Jafar Mustafa is a Syrian Kurdish refugee himself. He is 21 years old. He has been in Denmark for one year and five months and got asylum granted. He is now studying at Grundtvig Højskole.
He met a 14-year-old Syrian boy Ahamed among those children, who he knows before he fled to Denmark.
“It was a little bit hard for him at the beginning,” says Jafar about Ahamed,” that’s why I helped him with the painting in this creative art project and he is happy to have someone here who knows his family.”
“It’s a good way to learn about the society”
Mohammed is from Iraq. He arrived in Denmark 19 years ago when he was a child and alone.
He is chief volunteer at Grundtvig Højskole. Today he is doing the food for the minors on the rum and students at Grundtvig Højskole in the project Meet In The Box.
Mohammed likes the project with the minors on the run.
“It is very nice,” he says, “It is a good way for the children to learn fast about the Danish society which is very different from our own.”
“Students can learn about themselves and their limits through meeting minors refugees”
Ditte Thomassen who is a teacher at Grundtvig Højskole, especially works with the school refugee program, which helps the refugee students learn Danish, Danish society and get networks of Danish students and friends. She is the coordinator of the art creating project.Five years ago, Ditte organized some sports programs for refugees. When Red Cross contacted her this time about the project for the minors refugees, she was very happy to do it.
“It would be great for our students because we have worked a lot with integration,” says Ditte. “Actually integration is pretty hard, there are so many things which are difficult. All of the problems they have worked with and in the end it turns out great.”
Ditte feels that integration is so difficult because there is so much misunderstanding.
“Students at Grundtvig Højskole work together with the refugee students, learn different cultures, and they also learn about themselves and where their limits are“.
The students at Grundtvig Højskole went to the Centre Gribskov and met the minors refugees there.
“They were very emotional when they came back and really happy to meet the children,” says Ditte.