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Trampoline House – A Social Experiment Of Democracy

"Thanks for being here" it says on the cake. Many people are grateful for the Trampoline House's existence.
“Thanks for being here” it says on the cake. Many people are grateful for the Trampoline House’s existence.

It is a community, a school, a club, a place where you can be treated as a human and learn to be a human. The Trampoline House has grown with its  members who are asylum seekers and volunteers from Denmark and many other countries

By Marion Chen


Once, a member, on the day when he fled out of  his country, asked his father how old he was. His father told him that he was forty.  When he came to Trampoline House, while he was told that he looked just like nineteen or twenty, he could not believe it.

Morten Goll, the director of Trampoline House, told the journalist of New Times, “Because this concept of age is very different. You don’t need to know how old you are because it is not important. But it’s important here.

This guy also told Morten that it was the first time he had ever had a chance to go to school. He has learnt so much in Trampoline House.

Morten thought he must be crazy, “Because we don’t have (a school), I mean, you can learn Danish and English, but it’s not a school, it’s just you can pass some time and you can learn something, but it’s more about a network.” But the guy felt that Trampoline House was a school for him.

“Our school is not school. It’s an appendix to the Red Cross school. “ Morten explained.  “Maybe we are. Because we teach people about democracy, and about life, that there is a place that is better than the corruption and dictatorships, where they don’t give people much chance to have a decent life.”

Another member was asked in Arabic by his friend, “what did you get from Trampoline House?”  This guy had a three year history in the house. He told his friend,”Trampoline house has told me how to be a human being.”

“You know, that’s almost too much . “ Morten said, “It’s a very big responsibility. “

To Morten’s understanding, people came from dictatorship countries,  where it was impossible to have a dignified life. “You feel like an animal,” Morten said, “ because you feel that you will never be respected. “

But it was different in Trampoline House, because the members here could be at the level with everybody. And this is the democracy.

A Dream Of Forwarding Democracy
Morten is an artist. While he was disappointed with the strict asylum laws and refugee policies by the government in 2008, he started to take action with his friends to change the situation, and the Trampoline House was founded in 2008.

The Trampoline House is a social experiment of democracy that Morten set up with his friends by inviting asylum seekers.

From the moment people enter, they are members of Trampoline House and granted citizenship. “You could call it a crazy experiment,” Morten said, “some people say that it’s not up to you to give citizenship, but  we only give people citizenship in this house.” he smiled.

To Morten’s view, when part of the population is kept away in camps with no rights, people can not maintain a belief that they have democracy.

There are people who have stayed in the camps for almost 18 years. If they can not be the part of the solution, they will stay in camp for the whole life. This certainly can not be the part of the democracy.

“That’s why I am saying”, Morten said, “ I want to save Denmark’s democracy. I want to do that by inviting asylum seekers to take part in it and then to allow them to become the givers to this society.”
A Democracy Out Of The System
Trampoline House can not promise people asylum. “We can promise people a citizenship in this house.  And then we can explain to them, how the system works,“ said Morten.

Red Cross and Immigration Service can not do it. “We are not part of the system and that’s why we can grant people a citizenship in the house. “Morten explained.

“We tell everybody just  to tell the truth. Most people they get a fair court if they tell the truth. “ Morten further explained, “But this is also new to a lot of people. If you come from a dictatorship (country), you don’t have a concept of truth, you don’t know what is truth because you have never been told the truth by anybody because truth would not serve you. But it serves you here because we have a system which is not corrupt.”

Right now, many people are joining in the group forces to help refugees. These people think that handing refugees some money and everything will just be fine. But Morten thinks that in this way it might end up helping those people who actually do not believe the refugees are humans as Danes. “Because by helping people as victims”, Morten said,” proofs the points of the politicians who said that they will never be like us. “

“So what we need to do is to break the spear, to break the glass between them and us.” said Morten.

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