Elhan Risaan Abdulahi

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I feel good in Denmark and I don’t feel foreign. I miss my brothers and sisters, though, and the way things used to be when we were still together in Somalia. We would tease each other, have fun, and just be close. Gradually I have made some friends here in Denmark, who are here for me, and I am happy that they will be part of my son’s life.

I am a strong-minded woman, and I hate it when others try to take decisions on my behalf as to what I should do. This I suppose is the reason why I am in Denmark. I lived in Somalia with my father and my brothers and sisters, I went to school and I played basket. But in Somalia, being a female basket player can easily create problems. The skirts we play in do not cover the ankles, and this offends some groups of the population, who consider it haram, sinful, that women even engage in sport. My father became worried and asked me to stop, but I wouldn’t listen.

I have a large scar on my leg. I got it because I carried on with basket. I was detained by Al-Shabaab, who poured boiling water on my leg as punishment for what they define as a sinful behaviour.
The doctors at the hospital thought that the leg had to be amputated at first, but I was really lucky. However, this incident convinced my father to send me out of the country. It was too dangerous for me to stay there. I managed to get to Ethiopia where my uncle lives, and he helped me to travel to Denmark. Here I play basket in Falkon. You have to look after yourself, but you shouldn’t be so careful that you let others dictate to you how to live your life.

26 years / female / single / child / language school student / Frederiksberg / from Somalia / came to Denmark in 2012 / residence permit in 2013