Civic Imagination

Train of Hope

Due to the refugee streams into and via Austria especially in 2015 thousands of refugees came to Austria every day. While some of them entered Austria in the East of the country, lots of refugees arrived at two central train stations in Vienna. Due to the huge number of people arriving there was a lack of nearly everything those people needed including food, warm clothes and a place to sleep. Politics seemed helpless and so more and more people had to live on the street, in parks and at the central station. Lots of Austrians were distraught by that situation and decided to do something in order to help those people.

Therefore an organisation named “Train of Hope” was founded by volunteers. The organisation which was located at the central station collected charitable donations, provided the arriving refugees with food, clothes and information. Furthermore volunteers played with children, talked to people and gave a helping hand wherever needed. In the meantime the so called “West-Balkan-Route” including Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary as well as Croatia and Slovenia via which refugees travelled into Austria and Germany is closed by the military and fences. But the “Train of Hope” didn’t stop to help people, recently they are focusing on legal advice as well as helping those who still arrive in Austria.

The “Train of Hope” which generated a huge media resonance was a strong symbol for Civic Imagination in Austria. When public authorities failed to provide necessities, volunteers undertook the task to help the weakest. The organization generated a huge media response.

I am deeply moved by what the organisation does to refugees. Especially the fact that all those people who are helping are doing it voluntarily shows that many people care about the current situation. In fact it is good to see that a strong society can undertake tasks which usually should be performed by public authorities. If everyone would rely on others (especially in relation to the refugee streams) the situation in Vienna and all over Europe would be far worse.

Stories like the “Train of Hope” inspire lots of people all over Europe although there aren’t single characters that are in the spotlight. It is important to see that every single individual can help in his or her way. Voluntary work is so important not just in the current refugee crisis but in lots of different affairs.

Train of Hope; Vienna; Central Stations; Help; Refugees

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