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04/11/2016 13:54
Rejected asylum seekers get a break with Volleyball
News from the National Federations

Copenhagen, Denmark, November 4, 2016. Volleyball Denmark and Red Cross have joined forces for the delivery of the ‘Let Volleyball do the talking’ project, thus making sure that rejected asylum seekers living in Vridsløselille prison can play Volleyball once a week.

The abandoned Vridsløselille prison in Denmark houses a number of non-criminal and rejected asylum seekers. Since August, the Danish Red Cross and Volleyball Denmark have established a project which makes it possible for these people to play Volleyball once a week.

“When you as non-criminal are being put into a Danish jail, and you are notified in writing that you are not a criminal, it is hard to understand. There have been major leaps in behaviour, compared to the first times we were here,” said Thomas Bro-Rasmussen, Board of Administration member in Volleyball Denmark who is also volunteering for the Red Cross.

It is volunteer Volleyball players from the surrounding clubs in Copenhagen who visit the prison once a week and play Volleyball with the rejected asylum seekers.

The aim with ’Let Volleyball do the talking’ is to give these people a break from monotonous and depressing days in the prison where the 20 to 60 foreigners spend most of the time in their cells without Internet access and only restricted contact with their families.

“It is a great success. The inmates see this as a free space in a day which under no circumstances is fun. They are sitting in a prison in the block, and are not going out much,” says Jesper Bertelsen from the Danish Red Cross. “As a result, both the activity and in general being able to tell their stories to Danish volunteers is an important part of this. Not only Volleyball, there are sweets and soft drinks and they can tell their stories as to why they came to Denmark,” he adds.

Most of the people in Vridsløselille prison do not have a prospect of a life in Denmark outside the walls of the prison. Most of them will be expelled and return to where they came from. That is why the activities in the prison support the greatest element of freedom.

Vridsløselille prison has been used since December 2015 as a temporary residence for rejected asylum seekers.

Watch the video clip from the prison here.

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