The other side of the coin
The renovations that started on the rooms in the Avnstrup asylum center in December 2009 is a great idea, but it has made life difficult for some of us asylum seekers.
It has generated disruption in our lives at the center. An example of this happened on the 23rd of December, when I walked into my room after a productive day at school and, to my surprise, I found the television was missing. I tried to file a complaint at the office, but the response I got was not helpful and nothing was done about the incident.
A few days later, another man living in the asylum center found that the lock on his locker had been changed. After getting help from the main office and breaking the lock, his locker was found to be empty. His cooking supplies were gone - his pots, pans, plates and utensils. Another theft, or mistake, had occurred. Now this man has nothing to cook or eat with and has to borrow everything from his friends, which is no way to live.
What to do?
So what options do people living in the camp have, if they cannot be guaranteed that their possessions are safe? Even locking them up does not prevent them from being stolen. I have to say: "Sorry, a beggar has no choice. You have to take it as it is, whether you like it or not".
It is a great benefit to us that the the rooms are being renovated, taken care of and cleaned by the staff, yet there is no sense of security when our possessions are being stolen while we are at school or doing our praktik. When room renovations are in progress, things have to be moved around, like televisions and even lockers.
Yet when things are moved out of their place, there is a greater chance of them being stolen -something that has been proven throughout the renovation time. In a place where not everyone has the same possessions, people steal because they do not have some things, like a mobile phone or a television. Sometimes people steal to make some money by selling what they take.
People should think twice before taking other people's possessions. Should we have to stay inside the camp at all times to take care of our belongings and lockers? In a place where people are constantly getting away with stealing things, the taking of other people's belongings continues. Let us think about the people and their losses and advocate the stopping of theft of other people's possessions. When will this unfair situation end? Please consider our complaints so that we can co-operate and work hand-in-hand.
Cleanliness is next to godliness, so let's go on with the renovations. Personally, I love the renovation of the camps. It makes the rooms look good, hospitable and filled with fresh air. It is a good and healthy process, yet both good and bad things happen during it - like the thefts I have mentioned. So let's keep the renovation business going, and work together to avoid further losses of our fellow brothers and sisters' goods.
We approached Carsten E. Isaksen, head of Avnstrup Center, with our criticisms. His comments follow:
"Initially, I thank you for the basic positive response regarding that we carry out improvements to the rooms décor and state. It is a clear goal that we continuously help to improve conditions for residents."
"Naturally, I am sorry to hear that there have been some unfortunate experiences for our residents. About the recent renovation work, the staff's opinion was that the residents were clearly informed about the importance of this."
"Of course we listen and learn from the experience we get. In that connection, I can only agree with the concluding remarks in the article - that we ought to continue to implement improvements. We will look into whether we can improve information to residents on any future room improvements. We want to ensure safe temporary packing and storage of the residents' belongings - or, if possible, that the residents are present while the work goes on. I, too, hope that further theft can be avoided," Isaksen emphasized.