Rasheed Howiedi

I was one of the Palestinian refugees from Lebanon who lived in the basement of the Blågårds Church for 154 days. We had church asylum, and a lot of people fought for us so that we could stay here in Denmark. That’s probably why I already from the beginning felt a unity and compassion so I did not feel foreign.

Most refugees are focused on the country and the conflicts they have left behind. In my opinion, only few focus on their situation here in Denmark, or their children and their future. But for me this has been the most important. I remember the day it dawned on me that I could make a difference her in Denmark. It was a Sunday, and I’d promised my son that we would go down to our yard and play football. When we got down the yard some small boys were wandering around, obviously bored out of their minds. This sometimes led to their causing trouble. They saw us with the ball and they asked if they could join in. They just loved it, so we agreed to meet up the following Sunday. When I came down the week after I was met by a whole group of boys who all wanted to take part. A lot of immigrant boys need something to do. They are struggling to find their place in our society and they often feel labelled and misunderstood. Having been a traffic warden for 13 years I have become somewhat hard skinned, and I’m extremely patient. These are the qualities I will try to pass on to my children. I try to encourage them to enjoy some good hobbies such as football, and I have also started up a group learning Palestinian folk dance. It gives them a feeling of unity, which is often what they are searching for in the streets.

49 years / male / in a relationship / children / traffic warden / Hvidovre / from Libanon / Palestinian background / came to Denmark in 1990 / residence permit in 1992