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  • Support for mentoring projects

Mentoring projects offer unaccompanied minors a space for listening, relationships and togetherness in the society of their host country outside of institutional care. - Rolf Widmer, former director of ISS Switzerland

The number of children and youth who come to Switzerland on their own is still significant in the current migration context. Lacking a cultural and family connection, the young people are often poorly informed about their residence status as well as facing isolation. This affects their development and well-being, which is why their protection, care and support in finding prospects for the future require special attention.

«An extra place at your table» - support and solidarity
Launched by ISS Switzerland in 2016 and implemented with partners in the cantons until 2020, the mentoring project aimed to have a direct impact on the development and integration of young migrants in Switzerland by building social and trusting relationships with members of civil society. Through the time spent together, these volunteers supported the young people in their daily lives and encouraged them to follow their paths. They regularly listened to them and offered individual support. The project has supported MNA and former MNA in their transition to adult life by creating ongoing relationships. In harmony with the authorities' work, the project complemented the support provided to the young people by focusing on building relationships. In addition, the project responded to the wish of young migrants to meet their needs for social integration.

What is mentoring for young migrants?
All young migrants who wish to participate are put in contact with a family, a couple or an individual person. Volunteering involves regularly taking a few hours a month to spend time together, such as playing games or undertaking leisure activities, but also providing school or administrative support, especially when their mentees are looking for an internship or apprenticeship. Through the time spent together, volunteers become reference persons and can thus contribute significantly to improving the young people's well-being. In this way, mentoring can provide additional support for the young people during their transition to adult life while they are in Switzerland.

Current activities
As initiator of the project, ISS Switzerland supports mentoring project coordinators in various cantons, particularly with information and exchange events. ISS Switzerland also provides information and advice for people who are interested in mentoring young migrants and for associations interested in carrying out a mentoring project.

Current mentoring projects

Appenzell Outer-Rhodes

Argovia

Basle-Country

Fribourg

  • ParMi, soutien jeunes migrant-e-s Fribourg

Geneva

  • AMIC, association des médiatrices interculturelles

Glarus

Grisons

Jura

  • AJAM, Association Jurassienne d’Accueil des Migrants

Neuchâtel

Schaffhouse

Schwyz

Soleure

St. Gall

Uri

Valais

Vaud

Zoug

Zurich