Tausche Bildung für Wohnen e.V.

Tausche Bildung für Wohnen (education in exchange for accommodation) provides free accommodation for young people who in return undertake to work with socially disadvantaged children in the district.

The objective of the not-for-profit association is to improve equality of opportunity for children from precarious backgrounds, to offer young people a real-life, social area of activity and therefore to have a positive impact on challenging urban areas. The project is being launched in the Marxloh district of Duisburg from autumn 2014 onwards.

In practical terms, what this means is as follows: a mentor looks after four of his or her "own" mentees aged from six to eleven, helps them with homework, goes swimming with them, visits the zoo, teaches them to ride a bike, accompanies them to school, creates a garden with them and inspires a "hunger for the world" in them, none of which are activities that can be taken for granted in districts such as Marxloh.

A key component of the project is to establish a network linking all the important players in the district. Partners include various schools in Marxloh, the meeting place of the Ditib mosque, the Catholic and Protestant churches, the Niederrhein Therme spa and other partners. In addition, inter-regional partners such as the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (German Federal Agency for Civic Education) have also been acquired.

The principle of Tausche Bildung für Wohnen (education in exchange for accommodation)

This socioeconomic knowledge transfer project initiates the creation of a prevention chain against cultural exclusion, segregation, social disadvantage, educational poverty and isolation. The model project aims to combat "social repair costs" in the form of systematic care and support in the afternoons with homework, language, learning and leisure for socially disadvantaged children by committed young people (mentors) with a view to ensuring early support, involvement and integration.

Free accommodation is provided for a defined number of students (mentors) in a building adapted for this purpose. In return, the mentors look after socially disadvantaged children from the district, helping them with homework, language and learning support programmes and with cultural, sporting and other leisure activities on the basis of a contractual agreement. In this regard, full use is made of the local infrastructure of city council and religious facilities such as mosques, churches, sports halls, swimming pools and youth centres, whose management bodies, as contracting partners in this project, open their doors to the project participants – as far as possible free of charge. In return they receive urgently needed support for their own duties: the mentors switch roles and now become supporters by working for free for a contractually agreed number of hours in the cooperating institutions, where it is often the case that there is a lack of the financial means to pay urgently required workers. The mentor therefore spends part of his or her agreed hourly exchange time looking after socially disadvantaged children, while spending the other part of his or her time supporting the cooperation partners as a thank-you for opening their doors to the project participants. This creates a win-win situation that optimises benefits for the partners involved:

  • The mentor lives free of charge and can have participation in the project counted towards his or her studies
  • Disadvantaged children receive intensive support in the afternoons with their homework, language, learning and free time
  • The local infrastructure of city council and religious facilities receives urgently required support from student part-time staff

The central drop-in centre and meeting place for children, parents, mentors and partners is a large, purpose-built learning and work room on the ground floor of the building – the TauschBar (exchange bar). This is where concerns are dealt with, participation is organised and meetings and discussions are encouraged with a view to strengthening connections with the local area and local people. The approach of stimulating change by encouraging encounters and creating benefits is intended to promote integration and create identity.

Owing to its innovative idea and its role model character, the concept has already received multiple awards:

  • Winner of the Act for Impact competition in 2012 that was promoted by the Vodafone Germany Foundation and the Social Entrepreneurship Academy
  • Winner of a startsocial scholarship in 2012/13, the nationwide business plan competition for promoting social projects and ideas under the patronage of Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel
  • Winner of the development prize in 2013 of the Help & Hope foundation in the "education" category
  • "Recognised location in "Land of Ideas 2013/2014"
  • Nationwide winner in the "education" category of the "Land of Ideas" initiative

For further information, please visit www.tausche-bildung-fuer-wohnen.org