Steierin Award 2022 „Helferin“ geht an FIVESTONES

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Ein komplettes Kontrastprogramm zur „Action for Afghanistan„-Konferenz gab es gestern Abend in Graz. Das Magazin Die Steirerin vergab bei einem schönen Gala-Dinner den „Steirerin Award 2022“ in 9 Kategorien.

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Für ihr ehrenamtliches Engagement bei FIVESTONES bekam Masomah Regl den tollen Preis verliehen. Sie widmet ihn allen, die sich unermüdlich für die Menschen aus und in Afghanistan einsetzen.

(c) Fotos: Die Steirerin, Franz Pfuisi Film & Photography, FIVESTONES
https://www.diesteirerin.at/people/220301_st_awards_aufruf-237014/

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Konferenz der afghanischen Diaspora in Brüssel 2022

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Vereint in Schmerz und Trauer, Wut und Solidarität trafen sich afghanische AktivistInnen, DienstleisterInnen, AkademikerInnen und AkteurInnen aus der Zivilgesellschaft aus Europa, Kanada, Australien und den USA für eine zweitägige Konferenz in Brüssel.

Sie alle setzen sich für die Menschenrechte der Menschen in Afghanistan und außerhalb ein. Organisiert von Danish Refugee Council.Die Debatten waren höchst emotional, Diskussionen oft hitzig und laut, die angesprochenen Probleme schwer und belastend.

Video – Livestream

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Alle TeilnehmerInnen sind zutiefst betroffen von allem, was mit und in Afghanistan geschieht. Niemand kann still sitzen und schon gar nicht vergessen.

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Die Erde gehört uns allen

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„Die Erde gehört uns allen. Deshalb müssen wir sie auch alle schützen, ob in der eigenen Heimat oder wo anders“.

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Danke für das tolle Video von der Aufräumaktion am Plabutsch, lieber Konstantin! Und ja, Fivestones hat ein neues Team! Mehr Infos dazu folgen bald 🙂

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Presse

Im April findet der „steirische Frühjahrsputz“ statt. Auch engagierte AfghanInnen helfen mit, die schöne Stadt Graz zu säubern.

„Egal woher wir kommen: Die Natur ist für uns alle lebensnotwendig und wir müssen auf sie aufpassen!“ Aufräumaktion im Rahmen des „Steirischen Frühjahrsputzes“ am Plabutsch. Danke für die tatkräftige Hilfe, unsere Natur zu pflegen, liebes Fivestones-Team.
Danke für die Organisation, Klaus-Peter Noest!

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Nominierung für „Die Helferin“ – Steirerin.at

Die-Steirerin

Soziales Engagement aus Berufung: Die Helferin unterstützt, sie begleitet, sie ermutigt, sie organisiert und sie vernetzt im Dienste von Mensch und Tier, weit über das gewohnte Maß hinaus.

Masomah Regl
Gründerin – Verein „FIVESTONES“

2018 gründete die in Kabul geborene Österreicherin Masomah Regl den Verein „FIVESTONES“, eine Plattform für verschiedene Projekte, mit dem Ziel, das Zusammenleben von MigrantInnen und Einheimischen zu verbessern – auf junge, kreative und wirkungsvolle Weise. Der Name „Fivestones“ bezieht sich dabei u. a. auf ein besonderes Geschick erforderndes Spiel, das vor allem in diversen Altersgruppen afghanischer Kinder beliebt ist.

Jetzt abstimmen!

Mit diesem Link kommst du zur Seite https://www.diesteirerin.at/people/220401_awards_voting_helferin/ -scrolle nach unten klicke auf „Jetzt voten“ Einfach klicken“

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Speaking up in solidarity with Afghans

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 For me, “Afghanistan” is not a job. Nor is it a passion or a hobby. It is personal involvement, my story, my family – my responsibility and my duty. That is probably the reason why I find it so overwhelming to act the part of “expert” on Afghanistan for Austrian society and simultaneously be “the only hope” for so many fellow Afghans. Truth is, I am neither a reporter nor a savior.

Last summer has drastically changed the lives of the people in Afghanistan and of the Afghan diaspora. The rise of the Taliban to power led to the death of hundreds of people as they tried to flee. Some died on the runway of the Kabul airport. More than 200 people were killed and injured by the suicide bomber at Kabul airport during the evacuation in August. An undetermined number of people lost their lives on the borders of neighboring countries, and many more continue to die as they seek a better place to live. 

No need to talk to Afghans about agony, despair or loss. Or about resilience. About the hunger for life, the strength to go on and on, no matter how many times and how hard fate knocks them down.

But there is a need to talk to non-Afghans about the country’s struggles because the world suddenly remembered Afghanistan on that fifteenth of August, when the Taliban took over Kabul. It had many questions, often the very same as in 2001, when that godforsaken country got international attention.

While most people in the country held their breath, hiding in their homes, and those who could tried to find an exit from this hopeless place, the international media descended upon Afghans in the diaspora for comments and reactions on what had just happened. I was one of those Afghans who dedicated herself to be the voice and face of my people.

Austria’s refusal to help

Like millions of my fellow Afghans, I was shocked and devastated by the transition of power at an alarming rate in my country of birth, where my family still lives. I was also disappointed by the refusal of my current home country, Austria, to help us. A friend of mine, a former high-level politician, advised me not to go public with my family story because chances of getting visas for them would be better behind the scenes. However, the reporters continued to call and ask for interviews for television, newspaper and magazine articles, book contributions, talks at conferences and events. So, I accepted almost all of their requests, but secretly wondered whether I should have listened to my friend’s advice not to risk any chance of my family’s evacuation. The Austrian government, however, has not moved one bit from their initial “no-more-Afghans” policy. The events since August have assured me that Austria would not have granted a visa to my Afghan family members, whether I spoke to the media or not.  

Half a year has passed since and these six months have left visible and invisible marks. I’m weak and without energy, exhausted and tired all the time. I have gained weight due to stress eating, and the lack of self-care shows. I am emotionally drained and want to ignore every piece of news on Afghanistan. At the same time, I have the urge to actively look up what is happening there. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one to be paralyzed by our lack of power. Apart from sending money to their families, thousands of Afghans around the globe can only sit and wait for better times to come to their loved ones in Afghanistan. 

Seeking help

Many Afghans contacted me – and continue to contact me – to ask for help. They lack the language skills and rhetoric to speak to government or media representatives. I felt obliged to voice our concerns and cries for help also on their behalf. It was the least I could do. As if in a trance, I stumbled from one interview to the next for weeks, constantly trying to manage all the appointments in my private life as the mom of an 18-month old baby. I was also trying to get my family members on one of the evacuation flights from Kabul airport. Thankfully, Austrian friends helped me to fill in dozens of very complicated visa application forms for my family members and I tried to collect all the required documents from Afghanistan. Unfortunately, none of those efforts led to their evacuation. During the interviews, I constantly tried to stay in control of my own shock but felt ambivalent all the time: on the one hand, I was thankful for the opportunity they gave me to speak up and on the other hand, it sometimes felt like I was being exploited by the same media. I could not help but think that Western media approached the fall of Afghanistan as a temporary news sensation, while for us Afghans it was and is about the world as we know it. 

Even though I was well aware of how the media’s attention span and society’s interest work, I deemed it important to use the knowledge I have of both the Austrian and the Afghan cultures to explain the situation. I am by no means a scholar, and there are plenty of people who have a more extensive knowledge of Afghan politics and history than I do. However, how many experts actually grew up in both a very poor, traditional Afghan ethnic minority family and in an educated Austrian middle-class family? The deep insights that I gained from living a family life in two different cultures and different social classes enhanced my reflective faculties and my cultural mediation abilities. Adding to that my higher formal education and extensive travel around the world, I feel qualified to speak publicly about Afghanistan in Europe and in Austria in particular. 

Honest debate instead of anti-Muslim rhetoric

Expert talks on Afghanistan often concentrate on the political entanglements, at the best of times, or get caught up in blaming each other. A number of so-called experts deliberately turn the conversation into a blunt anti-Muslim discussion. What such talks should really be about instead, is an honest exchange of views that enhances the understanding of that country and its peoples, based on experience and empathy. Only with a loving heart can one really discern and address the problems and their root causes. Only with empathy can one provide cultural explanations that aim at mutual understanding. Only with compassion can one simultaneously cry with the Afghan people, who are pawns in the hands of the powerful, and criticize their patriarchy, their harsh traditions and their irresponsible birthrate. Only with sympathy can one ask the Western governments to shoulder their responsibility and help Afghans in need without belittling them. An expert who loves Afghanistan and its people and who loves the wealthy Western countries and their people too will be able to lead such a meaningful debate. Don’t all high-level political decisions ultimately have severe consequences on the lives of innocent children and mothers? Shouldn’t all experts on Afghanistan therefor have family ties there, because it all comes down to a very personal level, to the fate of every single person living there?

Encouragement and discouragement after every media talk

I accepted to expose myself to public view and got lots of compassion, encouragement and hands-on support. My engagement with media in the aftermath of the Taliban takeover also brought me negative feedback. People commented, for example, that I should stop begging for help and just go and fight against the Taliban myself. After I shed light on the parlous situation of the Hazara ethnic minority, some fellow Afghans in Europe insulted me as a “dirty Hazara”. They accused me of being part of an Iranian terrorist organization and wanting to set the Pashtuns against the Hazaras. From the very first interview on, I tried to remain aware of the risks that such public exposure entails, so it did not hit me too hard. Instead, I asked those critical commentators in social media with Afghan roots to use their voice and knowledge to speak up in the news, too. There is never just one truth. Afghanistan is far too complex for one person to be able to summarize the whole situation in a few sentences. There are so many different realities within Afghanistan that there cannot be only a single story. 

Why speak up though?

Why speak up though? What is the point of talking to Western media? How could the Afghan people benefit from Western societies’ understanding or awareness? There is obviously the need to bridge the difficulties between Austrian society and Afghan refugees here, considering the hostile atmosphere in society, enhanced by right-wing populism spread by certain political parties. Cultural mediation and representation are extremely important for both the Afghan diaspora and locals living here in Europe. What carried me through those exhausting interviews and events was the hope that with my contribution solidarity with the Afghan civilian population would increase a little in Austria and eventually lead to a different outcome in the next elections. Through my engagement, I hope that Afghans in Afghanistan and the diaspora in Austria would reap a tangible benefit in the long run. No matter how one looks at it, I find it better to do something instead of standing idly by and ending up in total resignation or frustration. 

Masomah Regl was born in Afghanistan and was adopted by an Austrian family after she was severely injured in a rocket attack during civil war in Afghanistan. She studied conference interpreting in Austria and Spain and speaks several languages. Regl lives in Graz where she works as a political advisor on integration in the city council.

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Read more : https://afghandiaspora.net/speaking-up-in-solidarity-with-the-afghan-diaspora/

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Ein Leben auf der Achterbahn in Griechenland

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Zehntausende Menschen, die vor Krieg, Armut und Perspektivlosigkeit in ihren Heimatländern geflohen sind, stecken in Griechenland fest und leben in massiv überfüllten provisorischen Lagern oder auf der Straße. Sie sind in der Europäischen Union, führen aber Leben jenseits jeglicher Menschenwürde. Die Familie Haqyar aus Afghanistan sticht auf vielfältige Weise heraus: Sie gehören nicht nur zu den wenigen Glücklichen, denen eine Unterkunft und ein wenig finanzielle Unterstützung von der griechischen Regierung zur Verfügung gestellt wurde, sondern sprechen auch fließend Englisch, behandeln einander mit viel Liebe und Zuneigung und haben große Träume.

FIVESTONES traf sie in Athen und hat mit drei von vier Kindern, die mit ihrer Mutter in der griechischen Hauptstadt leben, ein bisschen über ihr Leben gesprochen, das in diesem jungen Alter schon Höhen und Tiefen wie eine Achterbahn hatte.Erfreut euch an der kindlichen Unschuld sowie an der großen Weisheit, die diese wunderbaren Kinder ausstrahlen. Wir denken, dass sich die europäischen Länder eigentlich um die Aufnahme dieser tollen Familie mit viel Potential streiten sollte!

Video – Interview

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FIVESTONES Computerkurse

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Das FIVESTONES Digitalisierungsprogramm hat begonnen!

Im Jahr 2019 haben wir mit unserem 2 monatigen Kurs-Programm gestartet. 2x Wöchentlich Computerkurse in Graz und später dann auch in Wien. #DigitalisierungFürALLE.

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Diese gratis Kurse auf Deutsch und Dari sind nur möglich dank des ehrenamtlichen Engagements von Kursleiter Franz Pfuisi und der Unterstützung von Masomah Regl, Jawid KJ, Sharif Mohmadi und Rohulla Zahidi. Tashakor!

In Wien arbeiten wir mit dem Verein Neuer Start zusammen.

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Der Auftakt

Der Fivestones Computerkurs findet seit 6. August 2x wöchentlich statt – mit vielen TeilnehmerInnen mehr als auf den Fotos. Nach einem erfolgreichen Zwischentest über die Office-Grundlagen, Shortcuts, HW-Komponenten, Tippen, Formatierung und Präsentationen gibt es Grund zum Feiern! In den nächsten Wochen wird noch Excel, Mail, Social Media vorgenommen, dann ist der intensive Kurs beendet.

Dieser gratis Kurs auf Deutsch und Dari ist nur möglich dank des ehrenamtlichen Engagements von Kursleiter Pfuisi Franz und der Unterstützung von Masomah Regl, Jawid KJ und Sharif Mhmd Tashakor!

Im Computerkurs für Anfänger bekamen die zahlreichen TeilnehmerInnen am Dienstag eine Einführung in die Welt der Digitalisierung; betont wurde dabei die Bedeutung digitaler Fähigkeiten für den Arbeitsmarkt. Am Donnerstag stürzte sich die buntgemischte Gruppe hochmotiviert in praktische Übungen für das Tippen mit dem 10-Fingersystem. Bei diesem Lernwillen und mit diesen engagierten freiwilligen TrainerInnen werden in vier Monaten gefestigte digital minds hinausspazieren aus den von uniT zur Verfügung gestellten Räumlichkeiten!

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Rohulla Zahidi wurde zum Haupttrainer ausgebildet und übernahm die Anfängerkurse

Ein anhaltender Erfolg

Auch in Lockdownzeiten ging der Computerkurs weiter.

Kurse

Mittlerweile wurde 6 Kurse in Graz und Wien angeboten.

Die nächsten Kurse sind schon wieder in Planung.

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