Although the Covid-19 pandemic was a huge distraction in terms of planning and implementation, TopAfric e.V. was able to run the “Youth Leadership Programme” successfully. The mentoring programme aimed to deepen educational awareness and empower young people of African descent in Germany. It aimed at creating a spontaneous willingness on the part of the youth to become involved in civic engagements, strengthen social cohesion, and charge them with being more socially responsible.
The programme brought together mentees and working mentors to exchange views on various topics based on mutual respect and understanding. The project pursued active community building with the aim of networking and improving the academic and professional qualifications of the mentees. The young people benefitted greatly from the experiences and skills of the mentors, while the mentors had the privilege of sharing their successes and setbacks productively and passing on their experiences to the younger generation. The programme was implemented within two years with some challenges along the way, but these were managed well by the mentors and mentees.
The mentees were actively involved in the activities of TopAfric e.V. by accompanying people to offices, assisting them in filling out forms and providing translations in schools for parents who are not fluent in the German language. Though not part of the initial plans, the African students from Ukraine were supported by helping them to find accommodation and searching for German-language schools, as well as organizing Zoom seminars for them on how to navigate their stay in Germany.
The African Youth Education Awards (AYEA) that crowned the project were amazing and witnessed the biggest attendance since 2012. Initially, the event was slated for the 15th October 2022, but two months before that date, the Chamber of Commerce had to change our schedule to the 22nd October 2022. Panic broke out as we had to create additional posters, flyers and promotional videos. The new young team was able to adjust quickly to implement the programme in an amazing way. Over 500 people attended, far exceeding the target of 300 people, with the participation of state institutions, consulates, embassies, and agencies from Africa, leaders from the African communities and members of the media. The ripple effect went far beyond the attendees.
The mentoring programme builds on the activities of TopAfric e.V. and its network of partners in the field of educational equity and empowerment. The mentees did not only participate in the programmes we run, but took up leadership roles and helped operate them successfully.
We wish to express our sincere gratitude to Aktion Mensch which sponsored the leadership programme. With Covid-19 gone, we would be in a better position to implement such a noble project more successfully.
Desmond John Beddy