At a dignified and moving ceremony, the President of the National Council of Austria, Doris Bures and WIZO Austria President Dr. Hava Bugajer unveiled a plaque honoring the late Barbara Prammer, former President of the National Council of Austria, and a great supporter of WIZO and Israel. The school's "Mahut" program is being named in her honor.
Ms. Bures spoke eloquently about her friend and colleague Barbara Prammer, who she said was "an outstanding person, always committed to social justice for all. She achieved a lot, and launched many projects. I am sure she would be very happy to know this project is being named after her and I thank WIZO for doing so.”
Referring to her visit to Israel she said: "It is a great honor and privilege for me to be here, and after four exciting days in your beautiful country, I was able to get to know Israel better and strengthen the relationship between our two countries. Today, building bridges is more important than ever, not only between states, but between people, and this was most important for Barbara Prammer.”
Also present were H.E. Dan Ashbel, previous Israeli Ambassador to Austria, and current Austrian Ambassador to Israel H.E. Martin Weiss, World WIZO President Esther Mor, Chairperson of World WIZO Education Division Dr Carmela Dekel, Chairperson of World WIZO Fundraising Division Anita Friedman and Ingrid Rockberger, Chairperson of World WIZO Publicity and Communications Division.
Accompanying Hava Bugajer were several members of WIZO Austria.
In her address, World WIZO President Esther Mor emphasized the "Mahut" program, which helps students with various learning difficulties. The program also provides training for the teachers for these children. “I truly believe that this is the very minimum these youth deserve and a wonderful tribute to honor the memory of Barbara Prammer. This is indeed a program and project to be proud of.”
Ambassador Ashbel, who had worked extensively with Barbara Prammer in his capacity of diplomatic advisor to Israel’s Knesset gave a moving tribute, “Barbara Prammer was committed throughout her political career to the promotion of gender equality, women’s rights, the care for minorities and the underprivileged.”
He also stressed how "she worked relentlessly to educate Austrian society towards a culture of remembrance and responsibility for the role of Austrians during the Holocaust."
After the ceremony, the delegation met with some of the children of the "Mahut" project. One youth commented that, “This place is the calm after the storm for me. I was in a big school where nobody paid any attention to me, and I had no individual attention. Here, the teachers have a totally different attitude; I have had my best results ever and I call the school my second home.”
The Austrian parliamentary delegation was officially invited to Israel by Yuli Edelstein, Speaker of the Israeli Knesset.
The WIZO institutions in Israel sponsored by the Austrian WIZO federation enjoyed unparalleled support from the late Barbara Prammer and continue to receive important annual assistance from the Vienna Municipality. WIZO Austria is taking advantage of the delegation's visit to Israel to show its members the fruit of their tremendous support, the work and importance of WIZO, and a side of Israel that most Europeans do not get to see, behind controversy and headlines.
A second group of representatives from the municipality of Vienna also accompanied Ms Dures on her visit to Israel. They include Ms. Shams Asadi, Human Rights Coordinator of the City of Vienna, (recently engaged with the refugee crisis in the Austrian capital), Silvia Friedrich, International Relations for City of Vienna, Sabine Ohler, Director of Vienna Business Agency, Daniel Chladek, Manager Foreign Direct Investments at Vienna Business Agency, Gabrielle Tatzberger, Vienna Business Agency.
The delegation also visited the WIZO Zelkind Daycare Center in Rehovot (sponsored by the Austrian WIZO federation) to which the City of Vienna makes a significant donation every year.