2. HelferInnenkonferenz: ZusammenHelfen in OÖ – Gemeinsam für geflüchtete Menschen

SAT September 10, 2016, 9:30 AM-6:30 PM,
POSTCITY, First Floor
Credit: habibi.at

The Ars Electronica Festival will host the 2nd Conference of People Providing Aid to Refugees in the Province of Upper Austria in order to offer part-time volunteers and full-time staffers a setting in which to do networking, acquire information and exchange views. Wide-ranging input from experts and various workshops on subjects such as language, cultural understanding, work and training are meant to strengthen and motivate helpers as they carry on their efforts on behalf of refugees.

Since 2015, the subject of refugees has occupied the attention of Europeans like never before. People in flight have also dominated public discussions. Civil society has seized the initiative in unprecedented forms and demonstrated its strength. Following the successful 1st Helpers Conference in Upper Austria in March 2016 that attracted about 300 participants, this 2nd Conference is being held to support the ongoing efforts of civilian volunteers and to treat relevant topics. The lineup includes expert input (e.g. from the head of UNHCR Austria), keynotes by Syrian blogger Hussam Eesa (Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently) and author Ingrid Brodnig (Hate on the Net), the presentation of projects (i.e. Sharehouse Refugio Berlin; “In the Jungle of Calais” blog by Hammed Khamis; Habibi&Hawara, Vienna) and accounts of inspiring and innovative approaches. In addition to the conference, the “ZusammenKommen” [ComingTogether] open lab will be set up in Global Village. Great ideas and best-practice projects will be showcased during the festival. Take heart and do likewise!

Participation & Registration: Participation in the 2nd Helpers Conference is free of charge. The target audience consists of volunteers and professionals supporting refugees to get integrated in the Province of Upper Austria. Furthermore, asylum seekers who are performing volunteer or community service work are cordially invited to take part in this conference. Please keep in mind that your registration is not valid until it has been officially confirmed via telephone or e-mail by ZusammenHelfen in Oberösterreich. If you have any questions about this event, feel free to contact us via e-mail to konferenz@zusammen-helfen.at or by calling 0732/ 770 993.


9:30 AM-10:30 AM Entrance and registration at the information desk
10:30 AM-10:45 AM Opening by Integration Landesrat Rudi Anschober and Gerfried Stocker (Artistic Managing Director of Ars Electronica Linz)
10:45 AM-12:30 PM
10:45 AM-11:20 AM Europe: Refugee crisis or solidarity crisis?
11:20 AM-11:55 AM Sharehouse Refugio – Living and working with refugees
11:55 AM-12:30 PM Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. The work of the bloggers – IS from the inside – the resistance – Syria´s future
12:30 PM-12:45 PM Political questions to Landesrat Rudi Anschober
12:45 PM-2:15 PM Lunch Break
2:15 PM-4 PM
2:15 PM-2:50 PM Being a refugee is not a job – How integration in education and working life can succeed.
2:50 PM-3:25 PM Good Practice: Rosenbauer
3:25 PM-4 PM The first restaurant from refugees for Austrians
4 PM-4:30 PM Coffee Break
4:30 PM-6:15 PM
4:30 PM-5:05 PM In the Jungle of Calais
5:05 PM-5:40 PM Hatred of Helpers – Why is there so much anger especially on the internet and what can we do about hateful comments?
5:40 PM-6:15 PM Refugee Phrasebook
6:15 PM-6:30 PM Conclusion with Landesrat Rudi Anschober

Interpreters will be present to simultaneously translate all of the speeches held throughout the day into German and English.

Europe: Refugee crisis or solidarity crisis?

In the past months refugees have dominated public discussion like no other topic. Many people have got the impression that all refugees want to come to Europe but the figures tell a different story: In 2015 out of over 65 million displaced people about one million crossed the Mediterranean Sea heading for Europe. Even though this is the highest number of refugees entering Europe since World War II, this number only represents 0.2 percent of the EU population.

Christoph Pinter, Head of UNHCR Austria
Christoph Pinter studied law and has headed the UNHCR branch office in Austria since 2011. In addition he has been a lecturer at Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz of the “legislation on refugees and asylum – the so-called Grazer Refugee Law Clinic“.

Sharehouse Refugio – Living and working with refugees

How can each and everyone of us make our skills and talents flourish, and how can we live this experience in an appreciative society in which every single person is equally important? The world is experiencing war, hatred, greed and envy even though there would be enough for everyone if we only shared properly without comparing ourselves with others because every human being is unique. This is the idea which led to the creation of the Sharehouse in South Africa, a place of refuge, community and innovation which can exist anywhere in the world. In 2015 the Sharehouse Refugio Berlin was set up as a place where 40 locals and refugees work and live together, setting an example for true integration. Together they run a Café, offer catering services, organize events and a Language Café, and they create room for refugees and locals to meet. The Refugio is becoming a blueprint for many other Sharehouses wherever people get together.

Sven Lager and Elke Naters
Sven Lager and Elke Naters are both writers who lived in Thailand and South Africa with their children for a long time and have developed the concept of the Sharehouse. Since summer 2014 they have been running the Sharehouse Berlin and since 2015 additionally the Refugio together with the Berlin City Mission.

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. The work of the bloggers – IS from the inside – the resistance – Syria´s future

The Syrian city of Raqqa is considered the stronghold of the terrorist organization “Islamic State”. There is no independent reporting from the occupied territory – apart from a group of activists that has founded the Internet platform “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently”. Under constant death threats they film with a hidden camera and report on the atrocities that are committed in the war in Syria by IS-terrorists and the free Syrian army.

Hussam Eesa
Hussam Eesa is one of the founders of the group “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently”. The activists have already won several awards for their work, among others the grand “International Press Freedom Award” of the Committee for the Protection of Journalists.

Being a refugee is not a job – How integration in education and working life can succeed.

Fleeing war and political persecution, people leave their homelands seeking protection and new perspectives in Europe.  Successful labour market integration forms the basis for social integration, provides a basis for living, and increases the acceptance of refugees by the local population. Lacking labour market integration, however, creates social and economic problems. For that reason it is essential that forced migrants are granted quick access to education, training and work.

Carola Burkert, Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg, Germany
Carola Burkert studied social sciences in Nuremberg and Bath (UK) and completed a doctorate at the chair of statistics and empirical economics of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. She has been a member of the research staff of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) since 2005.

Good Practice: Rosenbauer

Rosenbauer is known worldwide as a leading manufacturer of firefighting technology in defensive fire safety and civil protection. In addition to its service to fire brigades the family-owned enterprise supports refugees and therefore offers an exciting perspective on the Upper Austrian labor market.

Markus Wieshofer
Markus Wieshofer is managing director of Rosenbauer Austria.

The first restaurant from refugees for Austrians

Arab hospitality meets Viennese charm, Oriental cuisine meets Austrian cuisine. The restaurant “Habibi & Hawara” provides displaced people with the opportunity to develop from petitioners to fairly paid employees and as a further step to independent entrepreneurs. Under the guidance of experienced entrepreneurs and restaurant owners a team of escapees operates a restaurant in the heart of Vienna together with Austrian colleagues.

Martin Rohla
The organic farmer and entrepreneur Martin Rohla is co-founder of the restaurant “Habibi & Hawara”.

In the Jungle of Calais

The autonomous refugee camp in Calais has been growing constantly since 2012 and currently provides shelter for about 4,000 refugees. From there, they attempt to reach Great Britain and risk their lives every day – jumping on trains or with truck transports – trying to continue their journey. Hammed Khamis is an author and streetworker in Germany, who traveled to the French city for twelve days in the summer of 2015 to offer help effectively. He experienced personally what it means to be a refugee, to fight your way through life and not be approved. He records numerous experiences and encounters in his blog ‘In the Jungle of Calais’ in the online magazine seinsart. For his work, he is nominated in the category Information for the Grimme Online Award 2016.

Hammed Khamis
Hammed Khamis is a streetworker and author from Berlin.

Hatred of Helpers – Why is there so much anger especially on the internet and what can we do about hateful comments?

We are living in angry times. This is a fact that people who help refugees are most aware of. They are often confronted with malice, rabble-rousing, and hatred. They are given names like do-gooders or “Bahnhofsklatscher” (referring to the people applauding the arrival of refugees at railway stations), and they receive angry or even threatening comments. Why is this kind of aggression so apparent especially on the internet? Which human and technical factors are causing the harsh tone that is prevailing in social media in particular? And above all: What are we to do? The introductory speech will be explaining important mechanisms which transport anger on the net and introduce options of how to respond to aggressive postings. After all we must not forget that each and every one of us can contribute to more respect and empathy on the internet.

Ingrid Brodnig
Ingrid Brodnig is the author of „Hass im Netz. Was wir gegen Hetze, Mobbing und Lügen tun können“, a book about hatred on the internet and what can be done about it. (published by Brandstätter-Verlag in 2016). She is an editor for the news magazine „Profil“and specialises in digital topics. She has received several awards for her work, including the Spitze-Feder-Förderpreis and the EU Young Journalist Award.

Refugee Phrasebook

Refugee Phrasebook is an open collaborative project to provide important vocabulary to refugees, helpers, and citizens everywhere. It assembles important phrases from various fields and encourages designers and experts in the field to improve on the material. Together with a global network of volunteer translators, editors, designers, printers, publishers, lawyers, doctors etc., and partner institutions in Germany, Greece, and the Netherlands, we develop sustainable communication tools to share useful phrases, icons, links, and important information for an open culture. All materials are adaptable for local needs and distributed with open licenses to foster communication between refugees, citizens, and helpers all over Europe and the world.

Paul Feigelfeld
Paul Feigelfeld is currently the academic coordinator of the Digital Cultures Research Lab at the Centre for Digital Cultures at Leuphana University Lüneburg. Be¬si¬des his aca¬de¬mic work, he works as a wri¬ter, trans¬la¬tor and edi¬tor, as well as a freelance curator and advisor for art institutions and universities

Caoimhe Gallagher
Caoimhe Gallagher first volunteered with the Refugee Phrasebook Project in August 2015 where she helped compile landmine information notices and phrases which were used to help refugees avoid areas still mined across the Serbian-Croatian-Slovenian borders. Since then, she has become a member of the committee which runs the Refugee Phrasebook Project.


Conference participants can attend a session parallel to the framework program. The offerings will be determined during the preregistration period in accordance with preferred priorities.

2 PM-3:45 PM The role of volunteers in the language learning process of asylum seekers
2 PM-3:45 PM Helping to find housing means helping to stay – Seeking housing for asylum seekers and recognised refugees
2 PM-3:45 PM Diversity – How to deal with it
4:15 PM-6 PM Argumentation training
4:15 PM-6 PM Job and Employment Opportunities for asylum seekers and approved refugees
4:15 PM-6 PM Integration in Upper Austria

The role of volunteers in the language learning process of asylum seekers

Refugees need a language. Most of them would love to quickly seize every opportunity to learn German – but until they get access to a language course a lot of time can go by. Here the many voluntary refugee helpers, who also want to help linguistically, come in. Only – what can they do – without imitating lessons – that makes sense? And what helps them to find their own role in the language learning process of asylum seekers?

Helping to find housing means helping to stay – Seeking housing for asylum seekers and recognised refugees

A secured living environment forms an important basis for successful integration. What options are there for asylum seekers and those entitled to asylum to get housing and what conditions must be fulfilled?. What is important when seeking housing? In a very practical approach we will be discussing these and other questions regarding this topic.

Martina Hofer
Martina Hofer is a certified social worker and has been working for Verein Wohnplattform, an association acting as a housing platform, in the field of mobile housing care.

Oliver Jungwirth
Oliver Jungwirth studied Social Services at the University of Applied Sciences in Linz. Since 2009 he has been working for Verein Wohnplattform in the field of eviction prevention, and since December 2013 he has additionally been in charge of the community project „Ansfelden Miteinander“.

Diversity – How to deal with it

This session focuses on identity, diversity, external ascription, and discrimination at individual level. We will be addressing  differences, reflecting on your own and other people´s prejudices, and working out strategies on how to deal with diversity.

Lilian Levai
Lilian Levai studied African Studies and specialised in the research on racism. In her diploma thesis she focused on the applicability of literature in anti-racism work. While working for ZARA association, a counselling centre for victims and witnesses of racism, she continues studying law.

Argumentation training

We will be working out effective answers to discriminating and racist remarks as well as testing strategies for argumentation in case of verbal conflicts or populist slogans.

Mishela Ivanova
Mishela Ivanova is a psychologist, pedagogue, trainer, mediator, and coach. As research assistant at the University of Innsbruck she has long been concerned with areas such as racism and discrimination and their consequences. Since 2003 she has been active in the fields of integration and refugee work.

Job and Employment Opportunities for asylum seekers and approved refugees

Job opportunities for asylum seekers as well as future changes and offerings of the AMS OÖ (Job Center Upper Austria), such as consulting projects, German courses, vocational practical competence checks, employment promotion) form the key aspects of this session.

Sefa Yetkin
Sefa Yetkin is the migration representative of the AMS OÖ.

Integration in Upper Austria

The integration of thousands of refugees is a major challenge. Your performance is decisive for creating an opportunity for Upper Austria and its people from this exodus. It is certainly a big job for at least a decade. In this session Renate Müller shows how integration can happen on site – with special attention to asylum seekers. Rudi Anschober explains how a comprehensive integration offensive in Upper Austria can be implemented, and he gives an insight into the current state of the integration master plan. In the third section of the session groups will work on the pillars of this master plan.

Renate Müller
Renate Müller is Head of the Integration Department of Upper Austria.

Rudi Anschober
Landesrat for Integration (Head of Integration of the Federal Government of Upper Austria)

Guided Tours

Free guided tours of the Ars Electronica Festival are available to conference participants during the lunch break. If you’re interested, please fill out a registration form at the conference.