Alya Khoury-Miles

Techelsberg, Volunteer, CIC member

When the big wave of refugees reached Carinthia in August 2015 and a tented camp for asylum seekers was opened nearby in Krumpendorf, I was very eager to help. Being half Jordanian and having visited Syria a few times, I could not ignore the fact that large numbers of Syrians were trying to start a new life in Carinthia. When I was a child my family and I had to flee from war in Jordan on 2 occasions, we were helped by the Red Cross who got us out of the country safely. So, a year ago, it was only natural for me to offer my support.

I was first asked to help in the “Dullnig Halle” in Klagenfurt.  A temporary shelter for up to 1000 refugees at a time, most of them were transiting through Carinthia to Germany and Northern Europe. I joined the Red Cross as a volunteer translator. My role was mainly to find relevant information for the refugees, to facilitate communication with the medical staff, and to just be there and listen to their stories, help them get through part of a long day: For a few hundred who decided to seek asylum in Austria the days became 3 months in the temporary shelter, while waiting to be transferred to more appropriate hostels.  The “Dullnig Halle” was vacated in December 2015.

In parallel, I became and still am actively involved in helping asylum seekers who live in a Hostel in St. Egyden outside Velden. I accompany them to medical check-ups and to authorities, I help them with their German language lessons and any other assistance they may need to improve their understanding of the local culture.

It is gratifying to be part of the local support team volunteering to help the refugees in their integration process.

P.S. By the way, I can highly recommend one of the refugees who can make and decorate delicious cakes for any occasion!