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Bringing joy to the lives of asylum seekers in Denmark

Two women play guitar and sing

Key Points

  • Volunteers in Denmark initiate a project to bring joy to refugees, particularly those in the central refugee camp near Copenhagen, where asylum seekers often spend months or years awaiting asylum decisions. Recognizing the trauma and loneliness of these individuals, the volunteers aim to create a sense of community and happiness.
  • The project begins with four volunteers organizing a spontaneous party in the refugee camp, where about 80 people, including families, dance to music played from mobile phones. Inspired by the positive impact, more volunteers join, inviting local bands to perform and securing art supplies for creative projects. Young volunteers engage in football activities with asylum-seeking youth, fostering a sense of normalcy.
  • The focus of these volunteer-led events is to spread joy and provide a space for asylum seekers to express their cultural identity. The project enhances community bonds, allowing asylum seekers to perform their cultural dances, while volunteers feel a genuine connection with the community. The initiative is characterized by a commitment to regularly organizing such events, reflecting the volunteers’ dedication to bringing moments of happiness to those whose lives have been disrupted by trauma and displacement.
3 May 2016
Main topic
Disaster Relief
Related topics

For refugees from Syria and other war-torn regions, the journey to Europe is long and difficult, leaving many traumatized from their experiences and lonely after being separated from their families. Realizing that there was a real need among asylum seekers coming to Denmark, our volunteers there were inspired to bring some joy to their communities.

The project began when four volunteers went to the central refugee camp in Denmark, where many asylum seekers spend months and even years after arriving in Europe. These people, including families with small children, live in an abandoned military site near Copenhagen, waiting to be told whether they will be able to receive asylum from the local government.

Volunteers smile and wave at the camera

When our volunteers asked how some of their daily stress could be relieved, one man laughed, saying “We want to have a party!” A spontaneous celebration ensued, resulting in about 80 people dancing in a small room at the site, music playing from mobile phones. Our volunteers were delighted when they saw joy spreading across the dancers, noticing the way anxiety seemed to fade from the room.

Inspired by this initial party, more volunteers in Denmark became involved in this project. Our volunteers invite local bands to perform at the camp, continuing the tradition of musical community. Our efforts have led to donations of art supplies from shops, allowing asylum seekers to express themselves through creative projects. Andreas, a local AYUDH member, has been instrumental in inspiring young volunteers to engage with this project. Young people regularly play football with the asylum-seeking youth, allowing them to enjoy the same sports that they played in their home countries.

A group of people stand in a circle with their arms around each other

Each of these volunteer-led events centers on the simple goal of spreading joy among these people whose lives have been so traumatically disrupted. It is a time when the asylum seekers can perform their own cultural dances, while our volunteers can feel truly connected with the community. One volunteer described the end of one of these celebrations, saying “Our hearts are melted by the humble and grateful attitude of the asylum seekers, so it’s hard to leave. We have to promise we will be back soon.”

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