Wir Sind Paten in the time of Corona
Our work has also been severely affected by the pandemic, as has our project Wir Sind Paten. Here applies: Arranging mentoring tandems as well as supporting the already arranged sponsorships has become very difficult, because the most important thing, which is personal contact, has been lost. Even if the initial restrictions have been relaxed somewhat, the work can still not really be compared with that before Corona. However, how exactly have we adjusted our work?
Two different levels must be taken into account at this point. On the one hand, the situation nationwide and on the other hand, the situation at the local sites. Nationwide, we have mainly shifted various tutoring and further education offers online. Specifically, we offer these services to our mentees via the platform Eduip. In addition to this, we have set up a central telephone number for each location, which tandems and also interested parties or other people seeking help can call at any time. In this way, we can help them directly or refer them to other institutions if, for example, we are not the right contact person. A particularly good thing about this is that the employees at almost all locations who have access to the telephone speak German, Arabic and English.
At the respective locations, in contrast, work adjustments always differ, just as local requirements demand. Two examples illustrate the diversity of reactions. For instance, in Kiel a great many tutoring groups have moved to the Zoom platform on the Internet. This means that the mentors now give online tutoring, which has proven to work very well, since the small groups also previously met weekly to learn. Now they „only“ do it online. Nevertheless, it remains a challenge and personal contact would have been preferable.
The second example takes us to Leipzig. Here, the office phone number is also accessible via WhatsApp. Everyone who needs help, for example with letters to the authorities, can write there. There is a lot of demand for this service, simply because many of our mentors find it difficult to help in the current situation. When a person needs help, this request is then forwarded to a Telegram group. In this group are not only our full-time staff, but also several mentors who help with replying to letters to the authorities, by filling them out together with the person seeking help, via phone, e-mail, Skype or WhatsApp. The responses are, therefore, very diverse and look different in every city. Yet, one thing is certain: In every city, additional mentors are now being sought more than ever, as there are still many people who need help. People who want to help others can, of course, also contact the central telephone numbers.