The Women’s Center is a good place. Better than the other centers where I have lived.
Generally the atmosphere is very good in all the centers. l know, because l have been in reception centers Sandholm and Auderød for two months. But now I have lived at The Women's Center for eight months. When l compare the two other centers to The Women’s Center at Kongelunden where l live now, the atmosphere is better, and the staff is more conducive than at the other centers.
Probably because at the other centers there are often some people fighting. Due to this behavior the staff have to call the police, and some of us are scared of the police, so the level of tension is always high. On top of this we all have our own problems to think of too.
The Women’s Center is special because there are women only. Also it differs from other centers because it is the smallest among all the centers. It is like an extended family circle. It is our responsibility that both the asylum seeker and the staff live here happily. We all mingle together as one family.
No idle hands
Another thing that makes The Women’s Center an interesting place to live is, that we have so many activities at the centre so we do not feel bored. Every Monday from 5 pm. to 7 pm. we have creative workshop. Some women have volunteered to teach us creative art. We do many different things e.g. pillows, sewing, designing and so on.
On Tuesdays, from 6 pm. to 7 pm. we have choir practice. This is a different group volunteers who come to teach us songs.
Every Wednesday from 5 pm. to 7.30 pm. there is a house meeting with the staff. And every second Wednesday we watch films with the staff after we finish the meeting so that we can interact with them.
Last but not the least, on every Thursday we have Danish classes from 5.30 pm. to 7.30 pm. The same voluntary women who can teach Danish come to help those who have home work and also those who have not started Danish classes yet.
At the Helm
Lillian, the manageress at The Women's Center, told me that The Women’s Center is a center for women. It was established in 2001. The asylum department asked the asylum seekers about their view on the centers. The women came up with the idea, that they should create a center for women. So the idea for a women’s center came from the women themselves. Lillian said:
“It was a great idea. The reason why the women in asylum wanted their own center was that men used to restrict them and maltreat them at their various home countries, and now they wanted to be on their own. Another reason was that when the women were living together with the men, whenever a woman brought up an idea, they did not feel that people listened to them. People rather listened to the men than the women,” she said.
It is not possible to keep men out, and also we cannot do without men. Sometimes we need help lifting heavy things for instance. If you can find a man, you call on him to help you. Like other centers the visiting hours are from 10 am. to 10 pm. Men are just not allowed to sleep there. This is one of the most important rules, and the staff is strict about it. And because we want to live there happily, we abide by the rules.
"The Women’s Center is not a crisis center for women, who have problems. It is a center for normal women and ordinary women who want to live on their own without men," she stated.
Lillian added, “Of course, we have problems. Because more people living together inevitably have problems - even living with our own family creates problems. And people from different places, cultures, and characters living together on top of their already uncertain situation, naturally there will be problems. l take it as a normal thing and is natural for our daily life - there are problems everywhere. Also we have a financial problem. We have limited money to spend and only a few staff members to run the center,” Lillian said.
“To change this,” she said, “l want the center to be bigger. More important than for financial reasons because there are a lot of women who want to come and live here. Due to the limited amount of rooms, only few can live here. The center has the capacity to house 40 women. Therefore it is difficult if you want to come to The Women's Center. It takes a long time before you can come to The Women's Center,” Lillian explained.
In a nut shell, l think The Women's Center is a fantastic place to live. Like l said, when you live there you feel like home despite your problems. We cannot do without it. Because of the conducive attitude of the staff there is a good atmosphere - and it makes us feel better. More women in need deserve to live there.
Women's Center is the Danish Red Cross' special accommodation center for single women with and without children. Women occupy the center, while the authorities process their asylum case. Women's Centre has space for a total of about 40 women and children, associated with a small group of women who are privately accommodated by relatives or other network. Women's Center located in Dragør alongside the Danish Red Cross' care center Kongelunden, but the two centers are separate entities.