The buddy-program provides individual accompaniment. It focuses mainly on people in difficult life circumstances and is based on the three pillars of social integration, administrative support and institutional networking.
What is the goal of the buddy program?
There are many established institutions in Switzerland which offer support in various areas. The goal of the buddy-program is to help people in difficult circumstances to become familiar with these institutions and to accompany them through the process. The accompaniment takes place in a one-on-one setting and is planned to be long-term. The goal is to establish a friendly relationship between the volunteer and their buddy, in which problems can be discussed openly and confidentially.
Who could benefit from this program?
The offer is addressed to people living in Switzerland who are currently in a difficult situation. For example people with a refugee or migration background or individuals who find themselves in a financial or social imbalance.
How is the project structured?
The buddy-program is divided into reference person work and the pool of helpers.
Reference person work
As a reference person you take care of a person in a difficult situation and support them on a long-term and voluntary basis in order for them to achieve certain goals. The focus lies on the connection with existing institutions and the accompaniment through the process: Together you will find suitable institutions and contacts for different needs such as learning German, taking out insurance policies, translating letters, writing resumés and more. Oftentimes the tasks take place in the form of administrative support, for example filling out forms, inquiring requirements, obtaining official confirmations etc. The goal is, in addition to expert support, to demonstrate friendly commitment. It is possible that you will celebrate your contact person’s birthday together, send them postcards or make time for personal conversations as well as offer attention, interest and confidence.
Pool of helpers
People who are part of the pool of helpers support the buddy-program voluntarily by performing occasional tasks in cases where a lot of human-power is required. Helpers from this pool get involved, wherever there is a need of multiple volunteers, for example helping someone move, transporting something large, painting walls and much more.
Does this work require specific qualifications?
Essentially, no. Empathy and social skills facilitate this work of course and are therefore, to a certain degree, preconditions for building a successful relationship. When it comes to administrative support, you will have the option to work in close collaboration with a member of our project management, who will be responsible for you. The PM member assigned to you will support you during your networking activities by offering helpful information about established organisations. They will also support you in your relationship building, especially concerning topics such as closeness and distance, transparency and honesty.