Integration is one of the biggest challenges our world faces today. We all have different languages, different cultures, and different ideas. But at the end of the day, despite all our so-called differences, we’re all just people looking to do our best.

Here are some ventures helping those who’ve come from afar, find their way:

MTOP

Their mission is to bring highly skilled refugees´to the labor market, connect refugees to companies, and break down negative stereotypes. MTOP offers an advanced training program that offers various workshops, and mentoring to prepare highly qualified refugees for the labor market. They enable refugees to find work suited to their skills, knowledge and experience while helping employers find the talent they need and increase the diversity of their staff. Over 20 companies have already benefited from MTOP’s talent pool.

Topfreisen

Topfreisen provides a social-culinary journey based on the idea that food connects people. Refugees cook food from their home countries for events that reach local people. Their “Topfreisen Academy” is a training course for refugees in gastronomy which aims to give them an easier and more sustainable access to the labor market in Austria.

Kattunfabrik

Kattunfabrik–the Cuture Lab helps integrate tailors who have fled their home countries into the labor market and works to develop the regional working places of the future. There are many challenges facing the future of the textile industry and they are prepared to face them. As a NGO, they offer practical and theoretical tutorship to prepare refugees for textile job market in Austria.

Habibi & Hawara

They are a private and independent incubator for future entrepreneurs as well as a social training and integration project for refugees and migrants with the goal of giving them an entrepreneurial tool kit to open their own ventures. In addition, Habibi & Hawara offer secure and fairly paid jobs, training programs, and an appreciative working environment. Habibi & Hawara is known for discourse and dialog but above all, they are known for their Austrian Oriental restaurant in the center of Vienna, which serves delicious food, and provides charming, professional, and friendly service, as well as interesting, relevant, and amusing cultural events.

AFYA

AFYA works with traumatized refugee children and adolescents in Vienna. Their project “Teaching Recovery Techniques” provides evidence-based, low threshold support for children and adolescents suffering from trauma. In a series of workshops, children and adolescents learn to gain control over post-traumatic stress reactions.

reflect

Launched in April 2017, reflect  is an activist clothing brand embracing a unique and sustainable design method which focuses each season on a distinct disadvantaged, and invisible community. Through the communicative power of fashion, reflect makes the invisible, visible.

Conclusio

Conclusio was founded with the aim to promote mutual support between Austrians and asylum seekers. An essential aspect of Conclusio is empowerment. Instead of just receiving help, asylum seekers give help and can therefore give back to the local population. They are the winners of the Sozial Marie Prize for social inclusion in 2016 and the Lions Nachhaltigkeitspreis in 2015.

CARamel

CARamel is a social business actively supporting the integration of refugees into the Austrian labor market by offering a sustainable and innovative way of car-cleaning: a thorough wash and wax service, both inside and outside, wherever customers’ vehicles are parked (e.g. garages of offices, hotels, e-charging stations). The majority of their team of professional valet cleaners are refugees, the cleaning process is water-free, and their travel footprint is CO2 neutral.

KulturenReich

KulturenReich is a social enterprise that links foreign-born women in Vienna with the Viennese business community and government. They act as a catalyst in the integration process while helping Viennese businesses gain a competitive edge from the injection of new ideas and different perspectives. Their goals are to empower foreign-born women to be financially independent and successful, support companies to reach their diversity goals while enhancing their intercultural skills, and support government by helping to facilitate the integration of immigrants and foreign women in Vienna.

Header Photograph: Lea Fabienne (photography) and MYOUNGHEE JO (graphic design)