I only feel foreign when the politicians claim I am foreign. I like the traditions in Denmark. I go to Christmas parties and Easter lunch with my Danish friends. When my daughter and I travel she always notice when someone speaks Danish. I speak to her in Danish and in Somali. It is important that she can stay in touch with her family in Somalia, the UK and the US.
I have never encountered racism myself. But my daughter was once berated at a bus stop. It was the day after the terror attack in France. A woman shouted “it is all your fault that something like this happens” and then she pushed my daughter. My daughter got angry, but thought that if she pushed again, everybody would think badly of her. So, she did nothing. It made me proud.
I had only just been granted asylum in Denmark when I gave birth to my daughter. I was now responsible for another human being who had not chosen to be born without a family in a foreign country. I wanted to fight for her getting a good life. The childminder did not speak English so I had to learn Danish. I watched all news programs on TV every night.
In Somalia I wanted to study economics at the university, but then the war began. In Denmark I have had education as a pedagogue, and I have done voluntary work. My daughter is now at high school. She is very serious about the school, and behaves herself when she is out in town. I can trust her.
My aspirations for my daughter and for Denmark are that the Danes will understand that our children are part of Denmark. The Somali youngsters are white on the inside and brown on the outside. They feel Danish. I dream that they will be allowed to contribute with all their resources.
Ilham Mohamed / 46 / female / single / child / coordinator with Neighbourhood Mothers / Gellerup / from Somalia / came to Denmark in 2000 / residency permit same year