The association Verein Sahel Tirol was created in 2006 in Igls (near Innsbruck) and strives to enable the cultural, economic and social exchange between the Sahel region and Tyrol, Austria. The main goal of the association is to support the intercultural dialogue between different actors from various social, economic and cultural backgrounds.
Verein Sahel Tirol is also active in the promotion and fundraising for development and educational projects as well as integrational projects in general and has already initiated and organized numerous projects.
The association is a non-profit and non-governmental organization, established in 1991, with offices in Vienna and Innsbruck. The Initiative develops and realizes socio-political and cultural projects and acts as a platform, network and mediator for Austrian minorities. It is active in the cultural transfer and dialogue between minorities and majorities – always aiming at better social coexistence.
The special focus of the Initiative can be seen as its unique feature in a region where other associations in the field of migration and interculturality specialize in consultancy and educational matters. The Initiative understands culture as „forms of cultural expressions” and therefore follows a wider and more sophisticated definition, which allows for the presentation of modern cultural work alongside folklore – which then again is reflected critically in the whole process. It defines the notion of minority in a wider sense than normal, not by numbers but by forms of exclusion from social participation. Thus, the notion of minority include not only traditional Tyrolean groups like the Yenish people, migrants and refugees, but also women*, homeless people and people of differing sexual orientations.
The Initiative’s work enables representatives and members of minorities to contribute to the societal and cultural processes and to sensitize the public for the enrichment and positive effects that social diversity brings to society. Long-term this should help to encourage contact between different social groups, to raise awareness for existing injustices in our society and eventually to resolve dichotomies conveyed in the media.
For the realization of the INNCONTRO Film Festival the charitable association «ÉCRANS – Verein zur Förderung einer vielheitlichen Filmkultur» (association for the promotion of a diverse film culture) was created by Kibidoué Eric Bayala, Verein Sahel Tirol, Michael Haupt, Initiative Minderheiten Tirol, Marco Friedrich Trenkwalder and Andrea Krotthammer.