Volunteer in Night Light Café, Vesterbro, Copenhagen
Studies International Studies and Cultural Encounters at Roskilde University
- What is Night Light Café in Vesterbro in Copenhagen?
Nigerian women make up the vast majority of foreign women in prostitution in Europe. This also applies to Denmark and often the women have been trafficked here. Night Light Café is established to meet these women with dignity, care and love. It is established to give them a break from the street corner and to tell them about the possibilities of getting out of prostitution and home to Nigeria. It is a diaconal project that builds upon Christian values and is a collaboration between Eliaskirken, Apostelkirken, Byens Valgmenighed, Vineyard Copenhagen, Regen and the Church Integration Service.
We are 20-30 volunteers who keep the café open every Wednesday to Thursday night from 03-06. We serve tea and toast, play games, talk, and have various creative workshops. In the middle of the night we have a devotion. In addition, we are also on the streets where we offer them something warm to drink.
- Why have you chosen to volunteer and why does it make sense?
I often meet people who do not know about the Nigerian women’s situation here in CPH. I knew the café before I moved here and knew I wanted to volunteer. I wanted to volunteer because I knew about what was going on and felt a need to act. I still feel that.
On one of my first shifts, one of the women kept asking whether we got money for being in the cafe. It was hard for her to understand that we could be up at night voluntarily for her and the other women. Among other things, it is situations like this that drive me as a volunteer. Getting the opportunity to show them that they are valuable is incredibly meaningful to me.
- How do you see / experience ‘loving your neighbor’ in Night Light Café?
The everyday life of Nigerian women is “dark” in multiple ways. Being able to spread just a little light in the form of a place of rest for them during the night is important. Meeting them as individuals and helping them realize their dreams is the way in which ‘loving your neighbor’ appears in this case. We get to love them in very basic and individual ways such as by recognizing them, looking them in their eyes, giving them something to eat, and not least talking and laughing with them.
- How can others become involved as volunteers?
If you are interested in volunteering, you can attend an introductory meeting – see upcoming events at the café’s facebook page: “Night Light Café”. To be a volunteer in the café you must be a woman, above 18 years of age, and take at least one shift every three weeks.
If you are a man, or for other reasons cannot be in the café at night, there are other ways to help. This could be by, e.g., updating the website.
Would you like to hear more, contact project manager Karin Kjærgaard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 40 14 34 35.