“Imam Hassan has a different opinion. Language skills are not necessarily in themselves. Women can clean or care for children. When the imam is asked why he has been unemployed for 18 years he replies that work requires qualifications and many other things make finding work difficult.
Imam tells that he himself, now that all seven children have been born, is ready to look for work again.
TV 2 visiting Somalian Women’s Association in Vollsmose: Not one is employed
Iman Hassan has lived in Vollsmose for 19 years. She has, according to her, received pay for work for a total of one year and is currently on paid assistance.
One Thursday evening in Vollsmose in Odense. We have been allowed to visit the Somalian Women’s Association Sahan, which has won more awards for their preventive work among young people in Vollsmose.
This evening, the women are gathered for a presentation by a lawyer from Aarhus who specializes in Somali clients.
How many of you speak Danish?
Before the presentation we have been allowed to ask a few questions in the hall.
I ask the assembly, which at that time consists of 11 Somali women, how many of them can speak Danish.
No one raises their hand. Instead, one of them is getting an interpreter from an adjacent room.
How many have a paid job?
I ask after the assembly how many people are in paid employment. Again there is no one who raises their hand.
They answer in Somali, and the translator translates.
– Some are waiting for work, some are out of work, some are early retirees.
According to the publication ‘Immigrants in Denmark’, published by Statistics Denmark in November, Somali women are some of those furthest from the labor market.
According to the nationwide statistics, 7 out of 10 of the 30-59 year old Somali women are on subsidies. The same goes for women from Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
The language is a problem
The attorney who is visiting tells that about 80 percent of the clients he has originally come from Somalia. According to him, there is one reason why many of them are not in work.
“I think the problem stems from the fact that many Somali women can not speak. It is clear that when you can not speak, you can not send an application and you can not get a conversation and tell what you are doing, says lawyer Tobias Grotkjær Elmstrøm.