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Sivaneswary Shanmuganathan


Danish or foreign? I’m just Siva. I talk with everyone.

We were nine siblings, I was the fifth child. A brother is dead, a sister and brother live in Berlin. I also have a brother in Switzerland, a sister in Canada, a sister in Australia as well as a brother and sister in Sri Lanka. And then there is me. My father had a shop and a farm. We had a good life, but the civil war destroyed it. It was my father who told us children: You have to go.

First my husband. Me the following year with our two daughters. He was a good man, we had a close relationship, but he changed after an accident at work, which meant he couldn’t continue working. He became sad, lonely and began to drink. Because he loved to work, and since I wanted to learn something, he backed me up. But it was hard for him that I worked when he wasn’t able to.

We got divorced, even though it was not something Tamils do. But it was my life and I was thinking about the future of my children. I worked as a social and health assistant, permanent evening shift. Took many extra shifts and additional hours at a temp agency. It was hard, but I wanted my kids to have an education, and they got it.

One daughter is a bio analyst, works at Odense University Hospital and is studying for a master’s degree in law. My other daughter is a doctor in Esbjerg. My son is studying economics at Aalborg University.
My father really pampered me. He used to say I looked like his mother. I was close to returning home when he died on the second day after I had come to Denmark. Maybe it’s true that I also look like my father.

66 / female / single / children / pensioner / Horsens / Tamil from Sri Lanka / family reunification in Denmark in 1987

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