Close to 80,000 people were refugees or asylum seekers in Austria in 2014, according to the UNHCR. The migratory flow caused by the Syrian crisis has increased this number in 2015 significantly. Civil society came together to welcome and assist the people who fled and many of our members have played a part in this. Here are some of the Hubbers projects:
Flüchtlinge Wilkommen: Opening our doors to refugees (Winner Social Impact Award 2015)
“Why shouldn’t refugees in Austria be able to live in shared flats (or other normal housing situations) instead of mass accommodation?”. As an answer, the website www.fluechtlinge-willkommen.at proposes individuals to open their house to refugees. After registration on the website, they are put in touch with a person who fled, via a refugee organization. Hosts can get some help to finance the rent, as recognized refugees are entitled to a certain amount of money to cover their housing needs.
Talentify: Helping young refugees to learn German with peers
Talentify is a social business aiming at establishing a sustainable peer-to-peer online platform that helps young people to develop their full potential regardless of their parents’ social or financial background. They started the initiative “Wir helfen!” in order for young refugees to learn German. The Austrian volunteers are 14 to 19 years old and based in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland. Most of the young refugees are isolated minors. This project will also help them developing a trusting and friendly relationship.
Magdas Hotel: The first hotel run by Refugees in Europe
It has opened its doors and 78 rooms in February this year, in the Prater area. The trendy and cosy Magdas Hotel is the first hotel in Europe run by refugees. This social business founded by Caritas is providing high quality services to worldwide travellers in 27 languages. The team is composed of sixteen nationalities. A hotel wing is hosting foreign isolated minors, and dinners with refugees are regularly open to public.
Topfreisen.at: Working in the area of international gastronomy with the asylum seekers (Social Impact Start 2014)
The asylum seekers of the St Gabriel’s mission residency are employed by Topfreisen.at to prepare international meals. This project offers them “a chance to pursue meaningful employment and makes them proud to share their culture”. Topfreisen.at provides catering for private celebration or corporate events. Benefits are used to finance German courses, excursions and leisure activities.
Use potential: Revolutionizing refugee camps (Social Impact Award Winner 2015)
Use potential’s mission is “to allow for every refugee registered in a camp to document and use their most relevant skills to improve the living conditions and mental health of refugees worldwide”. At registration in the camp, every individual is asked about his/her most important skills and knowledge and contacted later on to be part of volunteer-groups. “All eligible inhabitants of the camp are invited to participate with their knowledge and expertise. By creating and participating, displaced people regain ownership”.
Whatchado: Three jobs opening for refugees (Social Impact Award Winner 2011)
Whatchado is a successful online video platform to “find people, job and career that match your interests”. Three jobs have been opened at Whatchado for recognized refugees. Knowledge of Arabic or Dari/Farsi and English is required, as well as video making skills (CV and motivation letter to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org). A special channel “refugee stories” will be launched on the platform.
Younited Cultures: Promoting cultural diversity (Social Impact Start Award 2014)
To “celebrate migration” -its slogan-, Younited Cultures creates trendy scarves on which the story of successful immigrants is transformed into patterns drawn together with designers. Younited Cultures’ best-seller is a very colourful scarf that aims to become a symbol for cultural diversity. Andra Slaats, co-founder, is currently planning a “Celebrate Migration Tour” in Austria to change the perception on migrants.
Author: Elodie Broussard
Photocredit: Nicolas Blain