Together with her children, Haifaa from Syria has been living at the facilities of Wieder Wohnen in Vienna since March 2016. Haifaa came to Austria to be reunited with her husband, who arrived some months ahead of his family.
“When I arrived in Austria, many things were new to me. But I have started to get used to the differences.
“What I care about the most is that the condition of my children is improving. I am very happy about that and feel so relieved. Now that we are here, I have great hope for the future of my family. We just need to be patient; I’m sure everything will work out well.
“I am very pleased that my children have started to learn the German language, which I consider very necessary to live here in Austria. Indeed, there can be no true integration without the language.
“I also wish to learn the German language and be fully integrated in the society. I wish I didn’t need my children to translate for me wherever I go. I wish I didn’t need any interpreters at all to explain everything to me. I wish to be fully independent as soon as possible. And if I could work, then things would be even better. I need to be a productive person in society. I do not want to be completely dependent.
“In the past, I was a housewife and didn’t need to work. Our financial position was good, and only my husband worked. Nowadays, I am looking forward to working. Everything has changed in our life. I would love to work and help my husband and family toward a better future. This is what I really hope.
“I have great hopes for my youngest child, my three year-old daughter. She is for sure the fastest with regards to learning the language and integrating. And that’s why I depend on her more than her older brothers for translation. Wherever I go, she is my interpreter.
“What I like the most about this beautiful country is its people. Austrians are so kind and sociable. They don’t make you feel alienated.
“I want my children to have a better future here. We have suffered so much and the tragedy is still ongoing. However, thanks to Allah, things are getting better.”
Wieder Wohnen is a non-profit organization and the biggest provider of housing and support for homeless people in Vienna. Since 2015, Wieder Wohnen has also been providing accommodation and assistance for refugees. Currently, over 600 refugees have found shelter in its facilities. Alongside housing, refugees also receive a wide range of services such as German language courses and other projects which support their social integration. In June 2016, OFID extended a donation to Wieder Wohnen for the purchase of essential equipment to improve the everyday lives of its residents.
OFID’s support to Wieder Wohnen and other local NGOs involved in delivering essential services to refugees is in line with its 40th Anniversary dedication to highlighting the plight of people fleeing war and persecution. It is also an expression of solidarity with OFID’s host city Vienna, which continues to shoulder a disproportionate share of the burden.
OFID has regularly reached out to refugees since its inception in 1976. It is especially proud of its longstanding cooperation with organizations such as the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Red Cross, all of which provide assistance, care and shelter to refugees.