Inclusion Work in Denmark
The Islamic Texts for the Blind are proud to be working with the inclusion movement in Denmark. Although, the equality agenda has been facing difficulties recently as economic constraints and an increasingly right wing political agenda shift emphasis away from inclusion, there has been an increasing interest in disability issues within the ethnic minority communities. Confidence, competency and capacity are growing. Kitaba ran workshops on marginalization and supporting people with disabilities in March and May 2010 and several initiatives developed from those workshops. Last week, Shaykh Abdul Aziz Ahmed, Kitaba’s chairperson, spent three days contributing to those initiatives.
He described one of the initiatives as “one of the most forward thinking and hopefully one of the most positive and effective projects I have been blessed to work with. It is run by professionals who show commitment, sincerity and real care for people.” The project is a youth counselling service which provides ‘free supportive counselling to young people in order to build on existing resources and potentials.’ The organisation is called RUM, which ‘room’ but also refers to the official organisation, Rådgivning for Unge med Minoritetsbaggrund which is Danish for ‘counselling for young people with minority backgrounds.’ It offers a ‘breathing space’ in ‘a nonjudgmental atmosphere, where the young person can share his or her feelings and experiences.’
Mariam Mellouli and Iram Khawaja, both psychologists, gave training on counselling techniques and on the vision of the organization while Shaykh Abdul Aziz developed the vision and took the counsellors through some real scenarios using role play. The training is part of the build up to the launch of the project which will take place in the next month or two. Kitaba will keep people informed of RUM’s progress through its webpage and via Facebook.
On Monday 17th January, the Rigshospitalet Hospital in Copenhagen ran a conference on Disabilities Across Cultures where Shaykh Abdul Aziz delivered two workshops for hospital and council staff, equality and diversity workers, policy makers and volunteers from various parts of Denmark. There was a panel discussion around some of the issues raised. The training material will soon be available through the ‘services’ section of our website.
The following day allowed Shaykh Abdul Aziz an opportunity to offer training to volunteers from the Ethnic Resource Team. The Team consists of 35 volunteers and one manager providing support to patients across three Copenhagen hospitals. They work very closely with the Chaplaincy Service complementing the work of the Pastor and Imam by providing culturally competent advice and support from people who know the language, culture and religion of the patient.
Sumaira Latif will be delivering training to the Norwegian Council of Mosques on Friday 28th January as part of the ongoing work of Kitaba in Scandinavia. We wish her well and will let you all know how the programme goes next week.