Manal Bashir Tahhan

I am 100% refugee. Even though I now have asylum, my future here is still uncertain. The last eight months my children have been in the asylum centre Roskilde waiting to get an answer from the immigration office. We did not flee together. Although I was scared when I fled, their flight was definitely the worst. The boat they took sank in the Mediterranean sea. For 10 days I didn’t hear from them at all. I thought that they had drowned as so many others did. Pictures of dead children were sent to me to see if I could identify any of them. After 10 days they called. I could not believe it. The happiest day of my life was when I was reunited with my family. And I assume that the day they are given asylum will be just as fantastic.

I was married at the age of 16 in an arranged marriage, and I had my first child when I was 17. Therefore I did not have a youth and I felt limited in my marriage. I cannot identify myself with this culture.

I had one year with no restrains before my husband came here, and during this period I feel like I found myself. Adapting to this has not been easy for my husband, and therefore we argue a lot. But I refuse to be the person I was before. Now I travel the world and participate in conferences concerning refugees. I am engaged in a lot of NGOs, where I work for a better integration and a better understanding between the different nationalities and cultures here in Denmark. Amongst other things I have invited people to Syrian dinners. I am happy and I feel like I deserve it.

41 years / woman / in a relationship / children / receptionist / Birkerød / from Syria / came to Denmark in 2014 / residence permit same year