Copenhagen: The Way into a Better Understanding of Refugee Issues

Af Rim Hayat Chaif

I have been a refugee all my life, I am Palestinian, I was a refugee in Syria, then in Lebanon and now in Denmark, but I am thankful to all the steps I had passed through, I am proud of being a refugee, said Dana, 16 years old.

Dana is one of the 11 young people with refugee background that took part in a story-telling workshop in the vibrant atmosphere at Ragnhildgade 1.The storytelling workshop was part of the RAP:I:STAN project launched by RAPOLITICS in close partnership with the storyteller organization Forvandlende Fortællinger. It aims at creating space for dialogue between young pupils and young refugees in order to help the last ones express themselves and make their voice heard through different activities such as storytelling, rap, poetry, street art and spoken word.

Ghana, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria

The participants started to come one by one, curious to learn new things, to meet new people and to expand their network. They are from different backgrounds and ages representing four countries: Ghana, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria.

The workshop started at 11 AM and the participants were motivated and ready to learn. The coach divided the group into pairs and then he asked them to speak for one minute about different topics related to their life experience: “a story from their respective countries”, “how did they come to Denmark” etc. The participants were asked to change their partners until everyone shared a story with everyone.

Sharing Stories

“I felt nervous when I was trying to arrange my ideas and tell a short story about myself” ”said Jamila, a refugee from Afghanistan who has been living in Denmark for the last nine years.

The reactions out of this first excise were different from the ones who found it difficult, as they couldn’t mention all what they wanted to say in one minute and those who spoke less than one minute. “It was so easy, as I love speaking about myself,” said Ali from Syria. The exercise that followed was to find five tips, tricks for a good communication. All the attendees agreed that smiling and using body language is the key role for a good communication and what makes it better is to be specific, precise and concrete.The storytelling workshop was concentrated on building the capacity of the participants to become storytellers, to take the most important things from their refugee background and build on it a short and concert story.

The final exercise was dedicated on how to walk to stage and start talking, the first impression that you give to the audience. The participants took two and a half minutes of time to tell their final stories. The feelings were a mixture of many sensations since some stories were motivating whereas some others were very sad, as in the case of Sherine, a 16 years old girl from Syria, in which we learned that her father had been killed in Syria because of his job:

My father was a journalist. It was and still is really hard for us to live without a protective father

The workshops ended in a great picture of the whole day: harmony and happiness as it had managed to make audible a great group of storytellers that can be shared with all Danish schools.


About the writer: This blog entry was written by the Algerian journalist Rim Hayat Chaif, a friend of RAPOLITICS.