Train of Hope helps refugee arrivals
One of several groups that formed to help refugees arriving in Austria from Syria and other countries is the Train of Hope. The Local spoke to Katrin Bernreiter, to learn what motivated the group.
Why do these refugees matter? Well, why would we even ask? First and foremost: they're people. Luck had it, that I was born in Austria. Maybe you were born in the UK. And they were born in Syria.
Sixty years ago, that would've meant, that it would have probably been me in Austria needing to escape. Nowadays it's people from war-torn Syria. But all that comes down to is pure luck.
Interview courtesy of Phil Moran, FFAB.CO.UK
And that also means: how could I not try to help? I've been sheltered all my life, I've grown up in a country in the middle of Europe. A country where you can literally cycle to the next capital city, forget your passport and realize - safely and without any disturbances or checks - that you are incredibly privileged.
When I see pictures from these borders now, it feels surreal beyond any measure.
So far, we've seen - at least in my generation - an unprecedented amount of generosity and also a hands-on mentality that I'm very positively surprised to see. Private people as well as organizations don't hesitate, they don't get caught up in asking the 'what ifs' but rather come together to provide the very basics to let refugees arrive in dignity.
I'm truly impressed by how well the general public has come together as one to help and I think those early September days haven't only ignited a spark of humanity but a bright flame that keeps on shining brightly.
The civil society has united to efficiently do what was necessary - at the borders, at the train stations, at the asylum centers. Meanwhile, the government seems almost frozen with - I can only guess - shock? Disbelief? A lack of compassion? - leaving people like you and me to muster up the courage and do a job that isn't ours but that is of such incredible importance not just now but for the generations to come.
What we, especially as a 100% voluntarily organized initiative, for sure struggle with, is the fact, that we don't run out of donations, but we are often finding it hard to bring together full-time jobs somewhere else with basically another full-time position working long shifts at the Viennese Hauptbahnhof without pushing our personal limits quite to the max.
Train of Hope are accepting donations now. Please visit www.trainofhope.at for information, and to donate see https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-syrian-refugees-get-to-germany#/story