A new project is sponsored by the state to prepare asylum seekers for the Danish labour market while they are waiting for their cases be processed by the immigration authorities. This involves all asylum centers in Denmark, and a technical school is built in the center Kongelund for this purpose
Story and photos by Makmoud
Kongelunden center was bustling with activities as New Times visited the service department in the center to inquire about a new project to activate asylum seekers living in the center.
We had a chat with the head of the department Michael Nielsen, who is now project coordinator. The project is sponsored by the state, and hopefully it will start on the first of September, taking between sixteen or twenty persons as a beginning. The project will have four types of trades, carpentry, painting, gardening and cleaning for start.
We asked Michael a couple of questions concerning the project.
What is the idea of the project?
The Danish state decided that every refugee in Denmark must be active from day one after getting their positive response (the refugee status). For asylum seekers in the centers waiting for their cases to be processed, they need to be prepared to be active in the Danish labour market.
The Head Office asked asylum centers to make four projects in order to prepare people for the Danish labour market – carpentry, painting, gardening and cleaning.
Also, they were asked to find external practic place in Danish companies for asylum seekers involved in the project after two months.
For example, if one asylum seeker from center Kongelund obtains a practice in a Danish carpenter company in Copenhagen and during his practice get refugee status, the refugee board will be obliged with the Copenhagen commune to let him be in Copenhagen to continue his practice in Copenhagen.
All the center will be involved
There are nearly 200 residents in the center and about 50 are children. The center is a special center, and it will be the first time to activate and involve asylum seekers in such activity. So there are 150 adults able to be part of the project, and when both parents go outside the center after attending few weeks in the project for practice in different Danish companies, this will involve the nursery to take care of small children. Parents will be leaving for their practice at 7 o’clock in morning, and also the nurses and the clinic will be involved. The school will be extended to two extra classes of plumbing and a small shop for making simple furniture.
Gitte Nielsen, the head of the center answered our questions about her role in this project.
“My role in this project is administrative. I am to find resources, plans, buildings, money, to support the project to succeed. I have monthly meetings with the staff working in this project to keep on developing it, I am not involved in project but I am supporting it,” she says.
On her expectation on this project she answered that,”for asylum seekers who have the least resource to work, to be active to develop themselves, they have now the chance and possibility here in this center or outside the center, so that nobody has to stay in their rooms and lay in their beds in active. That is my expectation, also they will retain their dignity and strengthen and improve their health and be proud of themselves”.
Anders Nielsen is a staff member in service center
What is your role in the project?
“My role in the project is to work with the job center in Kongelunden and with companies to find places for practice for the students in those companies. So the applicants for practice can get outside the center to the companies later”.
“I will work in the carpenter class, because my education is carpentry, and I have to teach small simple things to the students. We start from scratch and do small jobs, some participants are very good and learn quick, in two or three weeks, and some are slow due to language difficulties and other difficulties and need two or three months to learn.”