Refugee Crisis

ORF launches refugee aid initiative

ORF launches refugee aid initiative
Refugee children at Westbahnhof. Photo: Barbara Süss
The Austrian broadcaster ORF has started a campaign to help refugees in Austria, called Helfen wie Wir. It is designed to coordinate the activities of major charities and make it easier for people to donate, volunteer and provide housing where possible.

The campaign has been launched in collaboration with Caritas, Diakonie, Hilfswerk, Samariterbund, the Red Cross and Volkshilfe. Its website,, will be used as a central point for coordinating volunteers.

Austria expects to take in up to 80,000 asylum seekers this year, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan. Finding adequate housing for refugees is becoming a matter of urgency as winter approaches.

“We are facing a historically exceptional situation that challenges all of Europe. We need to join forces to meet those challenges,” ORF General Director Alexander Wrabetz said.

People who wish to volunteer or need more information can call a free hotline on 0800 66 55 77 (Monday to Friday from 8 am to 9 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 11.30 am to 8 pm).

Any cash donations made through the site will be given to the charities who are assisting refugees. Companies are being asked to donate things which will help families who have lost everything restart their lives.