It has always been a guiding idea of SEKEM to support disadvantaged people through material and human assistance so that they can as soon as possible stand on their own feet again. The Austrian SEKEM Friends Association, for some time at the center of the European refugee crisis, has now decided to support young unaccompanied refugees in the spirit of SEKEM.
Assisting Young Unaccompanied Afghan Refugees
The principles that led to the creation of SEKEM in Egypt have also been at the foundation of the Austrian SEKEM group 11 years ago in Austria. Therefore, support to marginalised individuals is even a part of the group’s bylaws: “In addition, the association supports other initiatives in Austria that intend to work in the spirit of the SEKEM idea.”
The current refugee crisis is a burning issue unfolding itself right on the doorstep of the Austria group. Its members are convinced that the issue should concern all of civil society, not only state institutions. People from the group have decided to take very concrete action and support unaccompanied youngsters from Afghanistan, housed at the “Evangelische Diakonie”, a church institution, by offering them German lessons for free.
However, it quickly turned out that these young people needed more than just German lessons – they also required support in many practical issues. Above all, it was decided that it would be most important that they are given the opportunity to receive compulsory education in order to improve their chances to of finding jobs in Austria.
Introduction to Cultural and Artistic Topics
Based on experiences with other offers, the group made the plan to set up a one-year full-time course for young refugees that familiarises them with European and Austrian culture and is integrated into the organisational procedures of the Waldorf School Graz. There is also the idea to integrate the participants of this full-time course into the existing arts and crafts curriculum of the school. Through these offers, the young refugees have the opportunity to learn about cultural differences in a self-guided manner and to develop individual perspectives on their new homes. Waldorf education appears to be the most appropriate instrument for this task.
The Austrian SEKEM group has already succeeded in securing some financing but would like to continue its efforts.
Further Donations are Required
The association would like to attempt everything possible to provide these young people in Austria with a life worth living. Therefore, more financial resources are required. Interested individuals may donate to the following account:
Bank for Carinthia and Styria
All donations to SEKEM Austria are tax deductible. If you mark your donation “SEKEM refugee aid”, the amount will be earmarked for this initiative.
Text: Hermann Becke (SEKEM Austria)