00:07 GMT +319 August 2019
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    Migrants are escorted by German police to a registration centre, after crossing the Austrian-German border in Wegscheid near Passau, Germany, November 1, 2015

    Austria in Your Pocket: Red Cross Prints 146-Page Handbook for Refugees

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    The Austrian Red Cross has raised the funds to print 60,000 copies of a handbook that will help refugees and migrants to settle in Austria, and includes advice about food, healthcare and social norms.

    The Austrian Red Cross has produced 60,000 copies of a 146-page handbook intended to help newcomers to understand everyday life in the country, in German, English, Arabic and Dari, a  dialect of Persian spoken in Afghanistan.

    The printing of the handbooks cost around 50,000 euros ($57,000) and was paid for by donations collected by the Red Cross and Austria's ORF national service broadcaster.

    Mohamed, a 27-year-old asylum seeker from Iraq, told Austria's Kurier newspaper that being able to check information in the handbook is "very important," and "can save me a lot of mistakes in the future."

    The first chapter of the handbook, which is also available online and as an audio recording, contains information about the Austrian state and public festivals, and is followed by chapters on "Rights and Duties" and "Equality." 

    Migrants are told that "Austrians eat a lot of pork, and also beef, chicken, turkey and lamb," and also that "many people drink beer or wine, particularly in the evenings."

    The Equality chapter has a particular focus on gender equality, and reminds newcomers that "men and women have equal rights in Austria."

    It tells newcomers that "it is usual to extend your hand to men and women when greeting them," and that "in Austria, it is normal for women to be on the street without a veil."

    "That was the same in Baghdad, where I am from," Mohamed, who worked as an English teacher, commented, regarding the advice about veils. 

    He said that he had researched Austria before migrating, and already knew that men and women shook hands, and that garbage is separated and recycled.

    The booklet provides particularly useful advice about the health service, he said, since in Austria it is normal to visit a general practitioner rather than a hospital for non-emergency diagnosis and treatment.

    "That is different in Baghdad."

    Other chapters focus on schooling and everyday life in Austria, including a section explaining Austrian mobile phone contracts, and where to buy halal food.

    "That is very, very important," Mohamed said.

    "I don’t know what kinds of meat there are here, and where I can buy halal meat."

    The booklet includes other useful information about everyday life, including how to greet people, use public transport, advice on punctuality and a section on the popularity of cats and dogs as domestic pets in Austria.

    "Refugees have to understand how Austria works," Gerald Schopfer, President of the Red Cross, told Kurier.

    "Integration is always a social task. It is not just the responsibility of the asylum seekers, it needs the majority population, too," Schopfer said. 

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    migration, migrants, Red Cross, Austria
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