Schülerpaten Dachverband e.V. organises one on one tutoring between mentors and mentees. Mentors, usually university and doctorate students, are matched with children from families with migrant backgrounds. Sherief El-Helaifi, Co-Founder, Board Member, Head of Public Relations at Schülerpaten and student at Technische Universität Berlin, explained how, unlike most other mentoring projects, Schülerpaten focuses on the family and peer environment instead of schools. The reason behind this is that the migrant families’ relationships with the schools are often not conducive to establishing meaningful mentoring relationships.
Tutoring takes place in the privacy of the mentee’s home, opening up a whole new world to the mentor and facilitating intercultural education of both mentor and mentee. Thus, 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 partly parallel societies grow into one of cooperation and benevolence.
The concept of Schülerpaten has already been transferred to Frankfurt am Main and the Ruhr region. Further locations are planned. In order to spread the concept across Germany Schülerpaten builds on its network. For instance, mentors or mentees who leave Berlin to study or work in other German cities transplant the concept to these new locations. Success has proven them right: the project is very well received by the altogether almost 400 mentees and their families and well recognised by the specialist community as illustrated by the various awards Schülerpaten already has received.