The story of Was Wie Warum in Österreich (WaWiWa)
Ahmed is 23 years old, originating from Syria and came to Austria in 2015 during the refugee movement. After 10 months in a refugee home in Carinthia, he was granted asylum by the Austrian state to reside in this country. Now, there is a new problem. Just like the other refugees, Ahmed now had four months to find a job and an apartment.
Unfortunately, Ahmed only waited during these 10 months – it was a time of anxiety, boredom, depression, uncertainty and inactivity. His only goal was getting the asylum – he did not take the time to think about what happens thereafter.
Only once Ahmed got the decision about his asylum did he realise that he could have spent these months more effectively. Using the internet as a tool, he could have learned German and prepared for his future life in Austria. Through his emergency, Ahmed did what most of the people do who are entitled to political asylum – he moved to the biggest city, looked for an overpriced apartment with other refugees and hoped to find a job that is not too underpaid.
Ahmed is not an individual case. Just like Ahmed, there are many thousands of refugees every year in Austria facing the same challenges. It is an arbitrary combination of the location, contacts, Facebook pages, WhatsApp-groups, educational achievements and knowledge of the German language that influence the future success of asylum seekers in Austria. It is this arbitrary combination that builds bridges allowing for full social integration.
On the other hand, there are already many people in Austria building one project after the other to help refugees integrate into Austrian society. Klaus teaches German weekly, Anna gives courses in computing, Lisa is a mentor for a whole family of refugees and Harald founded a website which connects employees to employers. Everybody in Austria knows someone who has put their time and energy into one of the hundreds of initiatives for integration. Klaus, Anna, Lisa and Harald thereby invest into the future of our society.
However, most people in Austria do not know about the work of Klaus, Anna, Lisa and Harald. So, it is pure coincidence with a lot of luck that Ahmed or other refugees actually hear about these projects and initiatives.
We, from Was Wie Warum in Österreich (WaWiWa), want to get rid of this problem. The aim of our website is to structure the overwhelming amount of information available and the many possible ways to integrate. Therefore, we want to show people like Ahmed how to take the first steps towards integration. The goal is the following: in 2030, everyone in Austria should look back to today and say that we did well as a society.