Sarah was born in 1987 in Styria/Austria. She finished a master programme in social-work with an emphasis on “Intercultural Competence” at the University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria in June 2013. Sarah works as a manager of a human rights organization called “SOS-Menschenrechte” whose prior mission is to advocate for a humane refugee-care and for a human rights education with high quality. Sarah also has completed a training to become a legal advisor in Asylum- and Alien Law at Caritas Austria in Vienna. She likes travelling, acts as a voluntary “buddy” for a Somali family in Austria (Communal integration of refugee families of the Red Cross) and spends time with both of her godchildren. Singing constitutes an important part of her life.
BRAVEAURORA is registered as an association or NGO in Austria, Switzerland and Ghana.
The association BRAVEAURORA was founded in 2009 in Linz, Upper Austria, by the four Austrians Julia Obereder M.A.,Tamara Pottfay M.A., Sarah Kotopulos M.A. and Dr. Christin ter Braak-Forstinger, LL.M. and has also had a branch in Switzerland since 2009.
BRAVEAURORA Ghana was founded as a NGO in 2010 in Accra, to be able to act locally as a NGO.
BRAVEAURORA is formed by a small, flexible leadership team that allows to make and
execute quick decisions. The board works honorary with full commitment and assures
that 100% of your donation reaches the African children.
Julia was born in 1987 in Upper Austria and found her social consciousness from an early age. She started studying “Social Work” with an emphasis on “Intercultural Competence” at the University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria, which she finished with a Master-Degree in June 2013. Furthermore, she has completed the training in the area of Asylum- and Alien Law at Caritas Austria. For more than two years, Julia worked at the department of Migrant-Assistance at Caritas Linz and in 2013, she took over the position as director for a refugee-residence in Upper Austria. At the moment Julia works as a social worker with the Department of Social Welfare in Austria. Julia spends her spare-time at her local music-association and in discovering foreign countries and cultures.
Susanne comes from Arnreit/Upper Austria and was born in 1991. After completing an apprenticeship as a media technician, she quickly moved towards social work. While studying sociology, she then completed a semester abroad in Lithuania. After completing her bachelor's degree in 2017, she spent six months as a volunteer in the BRAVEAURORA team in Ghana. After her return, the path to social work was unavoidable for her and she completed her master's degree at the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences.
Since 2018, she has been working passionately with unaccompanied refugee young people as a carer and also as an educational leader in a shared apartment. After completing the trauma education course, she has been training to become a psychotherapist since 2023.
The intrinsic motivation to create better living conditions for children and young people runs through her areas of work. She spends her free time bouldering with friends or traveling through Europe in her VW bus.
Simone was born in Vienna in 1991. Since 2010 she has been a kindergarten teacher. In 2014 she successfully completed a further kindergarten education to be qualified to work with children with special needs. She finished her bachelor studies in “musictherapy” in Summer 2022 and at the moment she does her masterstudies in “music therapy” on a part time basis along with her job. She considers the uniqueness of each human being as an enrichment, which is reflected in her professional and private attitude. For many years Simone has been engaging in her home parish/church-community where she has gained a lot of experience in children- and youth work. Furthermore, she undertook a long-term internship in a child hospice and worked as a volunteer for BRAVEAURORA in Guabuliga. In her free time she loves to play music, enjoys sailing and appreciates inspiring conversations.
The Advisory Board
Christin was the chairwoman of the association from 2008 until 2021.
She originally is from Schärding / Upper Austria and now is living in Zurich since more than 15 years. Christin is the co-founder of Chi Impact Capital, an independent impact investing advisor based in Zurich. Christin studied at the JKU in Linz and completed her master's degree at Duke Law School in the U.S. and wrote her doctoral thesis at Harvard Law School. Christin is a university lecturer for impact investing and author of several books, the last of which is "Conscious Investing". Christin is a happy mom. Yoga is an integral part of her life.
René is based in St. Florian bei Linz and works as a university professor at the Institute for Public and Nonprofit Management at the JKU Linz. He is therefore also involved in research and teaching with associations and other non-profit organisations. Practical contacts, knowledge transfer and active cooperation are of great importance to him. For this reason, he has been personally involved in a number of NPOs (in a wide variety of roles) since his time as a student. His other passions include history and stories.
Baerbel lives and works as an architect and researcher in Vienna and Ghana und is architect and planner for BRAVEAURORA in Guabuliga since 2009. She is associated professor at the institute of architecture at the university for applied arts in Vienna, where she runs the lab [applied] Foreign Affairs, which inspects spatial and cultural phenomena in Subsaharan Africa and the Middle East. She is founder of nav_s baerbel mueller [navigations in the field of architecture and urban research within diverse cultural contexts], which focuses on projects on the African continent since 2002. Her work comprises of architecture, research in cities, installations, scenography and curatorial projects; contributions to (and others) Architekturbiennale Venedig, Biennale Marrakesch, Architekturmuseum Pinakothek München, AzW, Vienna Biennale.
She was honored with the Austrian Ars Docendi state award for excellence in science (2015), she is publisher of the books «[applied] Foreign Affairs» (2017) and «Structures of Displacement» (2020), realised the project Nubuke Extended in Accra (2019) and is co-curator of «Ecologies & Politics of the Living» (Wien Biennale 2021). She is co-publisher of forA on the urban (2021-).
Sonja Jöchtl is founder of Love Politics, a nonpartisan, charitable organisation which wants to lift a new generation of politician into politics.
She was executive of Stiftung Europäisches Forum Alpbach from 2015 to 2021, an interdisciplinary platform for sociopolitical dialogue, indipendent from ideological, religious or political worldviews. Sonja is expert for communication and philantropy with more than 10 years of experience on managing levels of Caritas Austria. She is member of the board at Österreichischer Stifungsverband, former member of the Austrian steering-group UN Global Compact and member of the board at the Austrian Fundraising Association. Sonja started her carrer as a trainee in an Austrian bank at the age of 17, she worked in an IT startup company for 5 years and was editor at an Austrian newspaper (Kurier) for 5 more years, which she did alongside her studies of communication and politics. She has a masters degree in communication (University of Vienna).
Sonja lives in Vienna, is married and mother of two sons.