There are SO many Danish people who helped us

Mohamad Alkhoraki is 27 years old, from Damascus, Syria

I came to Denmark in 2014 with my younger brother who just turned 24. In Syria I worked as a hairdresser, and I had a salon of my own since I was 15 years old. Right now I am finishing an education to become a hairdresser by profession, and I have an intership at Sthur. In November 2018 I will become a hairdresser! It only takes me two years because I have training from Syria.

In 2014 I arrived at Frederikshavn. Its where I got my resident permit to stay in Denmark. I went to language school and took 9th grade at VUC. I lived there for two years. When I got a job in Copenhagen, I moved. A lot of people ask me how I got my job. All I can say is, is that I work hard.

At VUC they produced a commercial where I attended, and told about my life, about my dreams. The commercial was at youtube, so I shared it with Venligboernes facebook site. Later I became vice chairman at Venligboerne Frederikshavn. Søren Hedegaard, who is HRH crown princess Marys hairdresser, saw that video too, and he contacted me and said he would help me get an internship. He called my teacher, Bettina Stuhr, and I went to an audition with her.

Since moving to Copenhagen I’ve had lots of work to do. I assist Søren doing both make-up and hair, and last year I worked as a stylist on ‘Vild med dans’. I teach at Stuhr in their academy and take part of a great show where hairdressers from Scandinavia come to learn more about new techniques.

My brother and I live together. He works for Louis Vuitton, and work in the evening at Folketeatret. We left Syria in 2012. We went to Egypt, and then to Libya, and stayed there for 2½ years. There was war there too. My brother was a mechanic and I worked as a hairdresser. In the 2½ years in Libya, we experienced many problems, so we decided to go to EU. We sailed from Libya to a small island in Europe. I met many smugglers that we paid to help us. We had no family, it was just the two of us. Our goal was to get to Scandinavia, and we were lucky to get resident permit when we arrived here. We both fled from the Syrian military, so our resident permit is of political reasons. I hope it will be renewed, I have spent five years building a new life here.

When you are here as a Syrian, its important to think forward, and try to forget what Syria was. I remember the good things, and the good memories, and forget the bad things that happened, like the war.

My family lost everything. Our apartment, my fathers shop. They move from place to place now, but cant join us here, since my brother and I are above 18 years. Family reunification is not possible, and all borders in Syria are closed. We thought we would just go on vacation for two weeks, but we fled. I hope I will get to see them some day. My mother says that shes happy that were doing good, and we’ve created a good life for us here.

There are SO many Danish people who helped us. I would not have been able to get this job without help, and it would take me a long time to name the persons who has helped us. Not just Danish people, we also received help from other Syrians here. Even if they don’t know you, they still help you.

The politicians should ask us about our culture and the experiences we have. Listening is an important skill. What do people who fled here bring, what are their skills and what do they know of? Its not enough to take a look at them and then classify them. We all have something to offer, something that matters to us. We all want to work and study. All my Syrian friends work, but that never reach the media. Some of them even have two jobs. If the news are bad, then you’ll hear about it, never the positive stories.

Dublin Core: Language: en Subject: a million stories, refugee, family reunification, hairdresser, hairstylist, denmark, syria, frederikshavn, københavn, copenhagen