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voestalpine sends a clear signal in support of refugees and integration

2015-09-28 | 

In light of the refugee crisis in Europe, voestalpine AG is providing immediate support for specific projects run by the Caritas Austria and Doctors Without Borders aid organizations. Half of the total EUR 1.5 million donation will go directly to aid projects in the crisis regions and the other half will support projects in Austria. Within its own companies, voestalpine also plans to create additional training positions for refugees. The group of companies considers this a part of its social responsibility and particularly wants to offer prospects for the future to young people who are far from their homes.

Europe is currently confronting its biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. More than 80,000 people are to be taken in this year by Austria alone.

As a company with international operations, we view the obligation to actively provide help in this situation as a part of our corporate responsibility – both in the most hard-hit countries in the Middle East and here in Austria. In addition to emergency aid, we see the biggest need for action in the areas of training and integration for young people, to provide them with opportunities for the future.

Wolfgang Eder Wolfgang Eder, Chairman of the Management Board of voestalpine AG

Medical aid and on-site training

voestalpine is providing half of the total EUR 1.5 million donation for local aid projects in the crisis areas. One recipient of the support is Doctors Without Borders, which treats patients in Syria and offers medical care to refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. As a result, 100,000 people will be supplied for one year with critical medicines and emergency treatment will be provided to individuals wounded in the war. Children make up about half of the people currently in refugee camps in the Middle East – an entire generation is growing up without a permanent home, education or prospects for the future. For this reason, voestalpine is also financing local education programs offered by Caritas, which provide the children with remedial education and a connection to the education system.

Emergency aid and integration programs in Austria

Given the humanitarian challenges also confronting European countries due to the flow of refugees, the other half of the donation will flow to a package of measures put together by voestalpine and Caritas to support refugees in Austria. Here, the focus is on both emergency aid and on the area of training, with the primary goal of ensuring long-term integration of young people. Specifically, around 166 new dwellings will be developed and acute psychological care will be provided for 66 people. Another 518 will receive training in German and literacy, and 157 unaccompanied adolescents will attend a four-month course as a basis for further vocational training.

With the help of voestalpine, people who have often lost everything while fleeing will be helped in multiple ways at once, in Austria and directly in the countries neighboring Syria. In Austria, men, women and children can be provided for and housed in permanent quarters. This support is intended specifically to help people get a foothold in their new home, as the donated funds will go toward financing German courses and training projects, among other things. Overall, a donation in this amount offers many people hope and creates concrete prospects for the future.

Michael Landau, President of Caritas Austria

Each day we see exactly what impact the dangerous journey has on the health of the people. Our teams treat patients in the crisis areas and in the large refugee camps in the neighboring countries, and provide medical aid with mobile clinics to those fleeing in boats across the Mediterranean and along the Balkan route. We are grateful to receive support for our work from private individuals as well as from companies like voestalpine.

Margaretha Maleh, President of Doctors Without Borders Austria

Additional traineeships and activities in the Group

In addition to the cash donation, voestalpine also plans to make additional traineeships at the company's Austrian locations available to about 30 young refugees by the end of the year.

We view these people as an important part of our company’s future. There is no place in our company for intolerance or hostility toward foreigners; as a successful worldwide company, we have a special responsibility to provide an opportunity to as many people as possible.

Wolfgang Eder Wolfgang Eder, Chairman of the Management Board of voestalpine AG

In addition, voestalpine is currently involved in other activities that will include both the involvement of the company as well as opportunities for individual employees to help.

The voestalpine Group

The voestalpine Group is a steel-based technology and capital goods group that operates worldwide. With around 500 Group companies and locations in more than 50 countries and on all five continents, the Group has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since 1995. With its top-quality products, the Group is one of the leading partners to the automotive and consumer goods industries in Europe and to the oil and gas industries worldwide. The voestalpine Group is also the world market leader in turnout technology, special rails, tool steel, and special sections. In the business year 2014/15, the voestalpine Group reported revenue of EUR 11.2 billion and an operating result (EBITDA) of EUR 1.5 billion; it had around 47,500 employees worldwide.