Full of self-confidence thanks to mentoring
On the path to a profession, young people must overcome a fair number of challenges. A volunteering project in canton Zug stands by their side.
When she talks about her job, Basma Babeker’s entire face lights up: “I landed my dream apprenticeship!” Last summer, the 16-year-old from Eritrea began training as a dental assistant. She found the position with the help of MUNTERwegs, an association dedicated to bringing children and young people, whether from Swiss families or immigrant backgrounds, together with volunteers who act as mentors. This is how 49-year-old Franziska Filliger became Basma’s mentor for eight months, helping her to prepare and search for an apprenticeship. The Zug native is glad to have found the project at UBS Helpetica: “Working with young people is so rewarding. I believe that, as a society, we should pass on our experience to younger generations and support them.”
Sharing the experience
Basma Babeker remembers their first, still hesitant encounter: “I think we were both curious but held ourselves back. We didn’t know what to expect from each other or how much each was willing to invest.” They began meeting every other Saturday, sharing ideas, looking at training topics, writing up applications and practicing job interviews. A small, private photo shoot was on the agenda as early as their second meeting – Basma needed a profile photo for her CV. “It was lots of fun, and some of the photos turned out really well,” she says. In the final phase of the search, the teenager approached companies with vocational training programs directly: “After submitting an online application, I’d still drop off my full application in person. Franziska drove me but would always wait outside.” In person, Basma’s warm personality surely won her a few points. No surprise, considering her name means “smile” in Arabic.
Text by Martin Winkel
Photo by Mischa Christen
MUNTERwegs is a mentoring project that assigns volunteers to children and young people from migrant and non-migrant backgrounds. The program thus contributes to cultural integration, promotes equal opportunities and enables participants to actively participate in social life.