National Mentoring Day: The Power of Mentoring

Happy National Mentoring Day!

National Mentoring Day is a global celebration of mentoring, designed to celebrate mentors and mentoring initiatives across the world. Mentoring is a supportive relationship where an experienced and knowledgeable individual (the mentor) guides and supports another person (the mentee) in their development.

At Hope for the Young, we witness the power of mentoring to transform a young person’s life every single day. We’re extremely lucky to work with over 100 incredibly talented, dedicated, and compassionate mentors, who provide weekly one-to-one support and guidance to young refugees and people seeking asylum, to help them settle into life in the UK, access education, and achieve their goals.

This National Mentoring Day, we’re celebrating the profound impact that mentoring has on the lives of young refugees, as well as on mentors themselves, and exploring why mentoring initiatives like our Mentoring Programme are so valuable.

There is a saying in my language: It's like there's a wall. But if you have someone to help you, you can overcome it. I know I can call my mentor and I am not worried. Mohsen, mentee

4 Key Benefits of Mentoring for Young Refugees

There are many ways a young refugee can benefit from spending time with a dedicated mentor. Here are 4 key ways our mentees benefit from mentoring:

1. Practising and Improving English and Communication Skills

One goal that almost all of the young people we work with share is to improve their English language skills. By working through English language materials, reading books and writing together, and having weekly conversations with their mentor in English, young people can significantly improve their English skills, allowing them to communicate more easily and navigate life in the UK.

When I met [my mentor] for the first time, I struggled to speak and say everything I wanted. Now I can understand everyone, I feel comfortable speaking. Mohammed, mentee
2. Reducing Isolation

Young people seeking asylum have left their homes, communities, and often their families behind. Arriving in a new country can be a daunting and isolating experience, particularly for those who are living in hotel accommodation.

Weekly meetings with a mentor can help to combat this isolation. Mentors can also can support young people to research and join new social clubs and activities, such as sports clubs, arts classes, and youth groups, where they can make new friends.

3. Building Confidence

One of the most significant ways a mentor can support a young refugee is by boosting their confidence and encouraging them to reach their full potential. Confidence and self-esteem are key to a young person’s mental wellbeing and personal growth, but they are often significantly impacted by the trauma of forced displacement.

Mentoring provides a safe and supportive space where young refugees can explore their strengths, interests, and abilities.

Mentoring has had a big impact on me, my mentor makes me feel not alone, giving me a hand and always being cheerful. She gives me confidence and teaches me to be strong. Jemal, mentee
4. Accessing Education and Employment

Education is not only a human right, but also a crucial building block for a brighter future. Yet globally, only 7% of refugees have access to higher education.

A lack of support to navigate the complex UK education system, lack of access to funding, language difficulties, and profound mental health needs all prevent young refugees and asylum-seekers from accessing college or university.

A mentor can support young people to navigate the educational system and act as an educational advocate, providing support and guidance with applying for college or university places, developing IT and research skills, and understanding coursework. Mentors can also provide support with exploring future employment opportunities, creating a CV, and applying for jobs.

The Benefits for Mentors

Mentoring isn’t just beneficial for mentees. Our mentors get a lot out of mentoring too!

Becoming a mentor to a young refugee or asylum-seeker allows our mentors to gain valuable skills in providing mentorship and working with vulnerable young people. Mentors also have the opportunity to learn about another person’s culture and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges facing young people seeking sanctuary in the UK. Not to mention the satisfaction of creating a valuable and long-lasting relationship, which will change a young person’s life for the better.

The stats from our most recent cohort of mentors speak for themselves:

Mentoring has shown me the value of a friendly face and ear when everything is unfamiliar. I’ve realised how important it is for our mentees to have someone to depend on; someone they can trust... and regularly be there to discuss things with. I think it has made a really positive difference. Niki, mentor
Get Involved this National Mentoring Day!

This National Mentoring Day, we invite you to join us in celebrating the power of mentoring to transform a young refugee’s life in the UK.

If you have 2-3 hours to spare each week and would like to make a difference in a young person’s life, you could be our next volunteer mentor! Click here to sign up today.

You can also support us to provide mentoring to more young refugees who need it by donating and sharing our work with everyone you know!

Alice Finta

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