My Buddy and me

The project offers temporary support to children with a migration or refugee background through a special peer based relationship: the children are supported in their tasks or other activities by native young people – their buddy, their sponsor.
The goal of this activity is to activate children’s own strengths, talents and self- confidence to go their own way. For this reason, when the child demonstrates to have developed sufficient skills and responsibility, the Buddy leaves him/her and his/her support ends. Normally, the supporting period lasts about 6 months. The project management arranges the contacts between the buddies and the interested children/families and is helpful in formulating the specific agreements to achieve the goals.


Young people, usually students, take on a “sponsorship” as a buddy for a child, acting as “a big brother, a big sister”. The buddy supports integration into the social environment and leaves when the situation can be dealt with on its own.
It has proven useful to initially install a maximum of 6-8 buddies for 6-8 children.
Since a buddy is intended as a low-threshold “start-up aid” for the integration of children from families with a migration/refugee background, a period of accompaniment of one semester (maximum 2 semesters) is realistic.
At the beginning of their work, the buddies are trained in intercultural issues and communication and in reflecting on their own impact in a transcultural context. Buddies receive permanent supervision and expenses reimbursement.

Outputs & Results

• Key contacts in the social area (integration into a club or leisure activities)
• Improved language skills
• Knowledge of possible points of contact to receive help and support independently and to visit them independently (offices, authorities, offers in the social area)
• Development of own strategies for further integration (when the buddy is no
longer there).

Target Groups

Key Features

Recommendations for usage

Target groups

Children with a migration / refugee background. Native young people aged 18-27 years (Buddies) wishing to sponsor a child with migration background treating him/her like a older brother or sister.

Key Features

– Promotion of community skills
– Supporting the process of integration into German society
– Promotion of personal responsibility supporting the improvement of personal performance
– Enabling or expanding participation in social life

Recommendations for usage

Students-Buddies have a high degree of willingness to volunteer in the social field. Due to the limitation of their available time (they study and/or work) the activity has to be carefully planned and coordinated. A good option is to integrate the experience into possible formal curriculum so to recognize Buddies new competences and credits. Buddies’ expenses have to be reimbursed; their experience has to be officially recognized through certification. The Buddy should be very well-networked in youth work. The organization must have a strong commitment to diversity and quality. The organization must offer Buddies good training on transcultural competence and constant supervision.
Buddies’ own migration experience is a plus.