Educational mentorships: How to give time to children

By Laura TomassiniLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

As Up Foundation education mentors, volunteers spend a year with a sponsored child. The goal is to get to know new things and to turn strangers into friends. Two pupils from the Brill School in Esch are currently taking part in the project and are learning to take charge of their own leisure time.

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Riding in tandem means pedalling together, getting involved with each other, shifting down a gear and always cycling in the same direction. The bicycle with two seats not only gives the Up Foundation's programme, which started last year, its name, but also symbolises the vision of the project, because Tandem is about teamwork. For one year, adults can mentor a child in the field of education. Valuable time is to be spent as a duo and memories are to be created. The programme is a journey that lasts a whole year and allows children to experience new things.

"Tandem is about spending out-of-school moments. The godparents are supposed to meet with the respective child a total of 21 times and do something together. However, the whole thing is not a tutoring session or babysitting, but a one-to-one relationship in which the child is the centre of attention, " explains Laura Urhausen, the person in charge of Tandem. The idea is to create a kind of friendship that ideally lasts beyond the duration of the programme, but basically simply creates a new relationship, because: "For most children, it is unusual to have an adult as a friend. Usually these are authority figures, but with Tandem there is no hierarchy – both partners are equal."

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