When all is not enough

“I left without anything”.

“I was captain of Eritrea’s national football team.
We have many problems in Eritrea. That is why I left.
It was difficult to take anything with me so I have nothing here. Nevertheless, I have many stories from my time as a footballer.
I think there are many Danes who think refugees have nothing.
When we were in our home country, we were famous, but that does not matter here.”

Haile is from Eritrea where he was captain of the National Football Team. He represented his country in football matches across Africa and Europe for over ten years.
In 2013 Haile, together with several of his teammates, applied for political asylum under the UN, because of lacking religious and other freedoms in Eritrea.
Denmark accepted Haile, the team coach and two of the other players’ application for asylum. Sweden accepted the remaining five players. Apart from one visit in 1996 to play football in Frederikshavn, Haile did not know Denmark and had never been to Esbjerg.
Haile likes living in Esbjerg, it is not too big but it has many churches and the people are kind and helpful. With his family now far away, the community and fellowship he has found in Esbjerg is very important to him. He often goes to church and spends a lot of time with the people from the language school and other people from Eritrea. He also has several Danish friends.

Find out more about Haile and the UN Refugee conventions in the exhibition Pionér – our story.

Photo: Esbjerg Fotoklub

Lulu Anne Hansen
  1. Overinspektør, Hist. & Form.
  2. Ph.d. Historie
  3. 40 12 25 41
  4. lulha@sydvestjyskemuseer.dk