Denmark: Campaign for socially isolated women

Denmark: Campaign for socially isolated women

The campaign "mothers and daughters - women in two cultures" ran from August to April 2010. The campaign materials were available in Danish, Arabic, Somali, Turkish and Urdu.

This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog -
Several thousand women of a different ethnic background [than Danish] live more or less socially isolated from Danish society. The women have little connection to Danish authorities, often only through the welfare system. They rarely come to parent meetings at their children's schools, and often keep their children - particularly their daughters - isolated from Danish friends.

Head consultant Helle Rahbæk Asserhøj says that these women don't have a lot of knowledge about Danish society. Few speak Danish and many have only sporadic contact with the job market. They 'cycle' through the system and don't' have many skills to advance.

She the head of a recently concluded campaign aimed at socially isolated women and their daughter launched by the Integration Ministry, and she's made a report for the Als Resarch consultancy agency on socially isolated women in Copenhagen.

There are no precise figures on how many immigrant and refugee women have no or little connection to Danish society. But Helle Rahbæk Asserhøj estimates there's more than 10,000.

Helle Rahbæk Asserhøj says that the women often have a weak ethnic network.

She says that people support each other through bad experience. For example, not asking for help if you have problems, since then they'll take your children or welfare benefits.

It is typically refugees or first generation immigrants, who often bring traumatic immigration experience with them to Denmark. Conversely, the daughters are part of Danish society from birth.

"Both the girls and their mothers may have difficulties navigating in the two cultures. With the campaign we opened up several discussions and give the women some practical tools to talk together," says Helle Rahbæk Asserhøj.

The campaign has been in contact with about 1,500 women across the country. Helle Rahbæk Asserhøj admits it can be difficult to prove the effects of these meetings.

She says that it's a quiet integration, which can advance by recognizing that there are other ways of living. And thus contribute to engaging more, for example, dare to go to school meetings, or recognize that hobbies can have a beneficial effect on their daughters.

Source: BT (Danish)

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