In 1978 some AFS-Alumni in Austria wanted to expand the AFS work that aims to contribute to a better world. As AFS-Alumni, they experienced that AFS is a great opportunity for young people and families. Much is achieved for AFS participants, intercultural learning, global understanding as well as global mobility.
However, there was a large group of people who were forced to leave their homes, who in most cases lost everything and had to learn about global understanding, often the hard way, as refugees. In 1978 - the year the AFS-Refugee-Aid-Foundation was established - there were six million refugees all over the world! They decided, that global awareness as AFSers also means to have a considerable share of global responsibility!
Since then, even though the AFS-Refugee-Aid-Foundation and many, many others tried their best, the global number of refugees has grown to more than 20 million and the need for help has grown accordingly. With the AFS-spirit in the background, the AFS-Refugee-Aid-Foundation aims to sustain at least some of them through careully chosen and supported projects.
The AFS-Refugee-Aid-Foundation orients its work on the roots of the global organization. The so-called Ambulance-Drivers are still the consciousness of AFS. Two World Wars were the starting point of AFS. Unfortunately war is still a reality and most refugees are a result of wars. Refugees depend on the help of the ones that are living in peace and wealth, to survive and possibly to be able to return home later.