Michael Drost-Hansen (Danish School of Journalism)
International Picture Story
Yin Bay was for many years used as a slave by the military during the civil war in Burma. One day Yin Bay had enough and decided to flee the country. He paid smugglers to bring him and his family to Malaysia. In Malaysia, Yin Bay, his wife, Ninbu, their daughter Mimi and 35 other Burmese were approved as refugees by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. A delegation from Romania came to the country to accept them and bring them to Romania. Here they could live safely, and the kids could get a proper education. They were part of the UN 's quota system where some countries in the United Nations agrees to receive a certain number of refugees. But the family quickly decided to move on. The Romanian authorities had broken their promises to the refugees from Burma. With no money or food and no schooling or medical care received in 2012 the family decided to travel to Denmark. In Denmark they applied for asylum but were rejected. They should be sent back to Romania. The smell of moisture, dirt and cockroach poison mixed with a little curry and garlic are the first thing that hits you when you walk through Stolnicus heavy iron door. The group of Burmese who came to Denmark, is sent back to the old, battered refugee center in a suburb of Bucharest. The center does not clean , and virtually none of the refugees can afford to buy cleaning products. "They just come and spray poison. Whether we want it or not. Half an hour after they've been here, the children's breathing heavier. They gasp for air. When we go to the doctor, we are told that it 's perfectly normal.” The family Mabu is among the lucky ones. They get no money, no food, children can not go to school, they can only get to the doctor in an emergency, but they have a residence permit in the country. They can get a passport, and they have been in Denmark. Of the meager money they received in Denmark they saved a little. Savings is the only thing that enables them to buy food. When it's gone, they have nothing.
Thursday, September 19th. 2013 the Mabu family is expelled from Denmark from Copenhagen airport.
Stolnicu refugee center is where the family is now going to live. It is not a prison. But with bars in front the windows, thick iron doors and guards behind armored glass, there are certain similarities.
Frustration and despair is part of everyday life for both children and adults.
The family came to Romania with hopes and dreams of a bright future. So far, their stay has been dominated by broken promises and shattered dreams.
There is not much space at the center. There is no living room or playroom, with the narrow corridor is used both to lull one-year-old Abraham to sleep and to play.
Even though daily life is chaotic, love is great. In a quiet moment Ninbu has time to devote all her attention to Alot.
Yin Bay and Ninbu is struggling. They pray to God and try to think positive thoughts, but the fear of tomorrow and their children's future is constantly in their minds.
The family doesn't go much outside. The many stray dogs are unreliable. Especially when they are hungry. The only time the kids go outside is when buying food at a nearby store.