Children and teenagers with migrant backgrounds often need tutoring in order to achieve higher grades and increase their potential in school, but their families cannot afford it. At the same time, there is an enormous potential to engage in volunteer work among university students all across Germany.
This is where Schülerpaten comes into play:
- We bring together volunteers and children with migrant backgrounds by establishing one-on-one mentorships.
- By tutoring individually at the children’s homes, we promote exchange between different cultures and better educational opportunities to foster integration and mutual understanding.
- We offer supervision, seminars and opportunities for our matches to gain lasting experiences together.
We started our project in Berlin where Schülerpaten Berlin was founded in 2009. Today, about 30 volunteers are part of the organizing team. Since the beginning of the project, we have brought more than 220 mentorships between German volunteers and Arab children into being. We want to reproduce our success in other cities and with other migrant backgrounds in Germany. Therefore, we are currently developing a social franchise strategy with which we want to expand our program. Our first expansion into another city will begin in January 2013. After a thorough evaluation of this first attempt, we aim to expand further into other parts of Germany. In the future, an umbrella organization may coordinate the expansion, supervise quality, and provide seminars and room for networking as well as funding for the individual organizations.
The concept of Schülerpaten is based on encouraging contact between people with higher education and children with different cultural backgrounds and fewer educational opportunities. People with different social and cultural backgrounds meet and learn from one another, which leads to increased respect and a potent reduction in prejudices. Through increased civil volunteering, social isolation is defeated. As a result, these otherwise parallel societies grow into one of cooperation and benevolence. Such a development cannot be forced by politicians, but must be borne by the civil society. For this to happen, Schülerpaten is an essential stepping stone.