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»Refugees never leave home because they like to«

Many Danes have no contact with refugees. According to a volunteer, this can create misunderstandings and mistrust in society towards asylum seekers in Denmark

By: Hamid Mukhtari

Many Danes volunteer to help refugees and asylum seekers. One of them is Marianne Kampmann from Virum, who works as a volunteer in Lyngby Frivillig Center. Marianne was a high school teacher for 35 years and used to teach her students in Danish and Music.

Now, she is using her knowledge to teach refugees Danish and how to structure an assignment. Besides, Marianne is also spending her valuable time volunteering to help Danish students with special needs, such as dyslexia.

Sharing Surplus
Marianne helps refugees because it makes a difference to those with fewer resources:

“I think I have the responsibility to help and share my surplus with those, who need it. When you do something in practice, it will make a difference.” When Marianne is helping others she gets joy, satisfaction and an inner peace: “It s a wonderful feeling. But it is also a different kind of appreciation to help refugees compared to when I taught in high school. It is necessary to show that we like refugees and that they are welcome to in our country. Every single refugee is qualified to be Danish citizen”

It is necessary to show that we like refugees and that they are welcome in our country. Every single refugee is qualified to be Danish citizen.

Refugees don’t leave home voluntarily
Marianne also approaches Danes, who have negative views and perceptions towards refugees. In her opinion, Danes and refugees need to make contact to break down prejudice: “Many Danes have no contact or relationship with refugees. And therefore they don’t know them. They have preconceived ideas about refugees, and think refugees are just here to take our money. But it is too easy to make these barriers and to say “they and we”. The best way to break down these barriers is for the Danes to meet refugees and realize that we all are human beings. We’re all the same.”

According to Marianne Kampmann it is important to understand that refugees do not leave their country by their own free will:

“We have to realize that refugees have been forced to leave their country. I think that most people never flee their homes just because they feel like leaving. In most cases, it is because they can’t live in safety anymore.”

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