News Overview 2015

A Level Playing Field When Working Toward the Abitur

Students Can Overcome Obstacles with "grips gewinnt"

In Hamburg, 110 committed and top-performing students have been accepted into the "grips gewinnt" program. They are given support as they study for their Abitur (high school diploma) in the form of seminars, personal coaching, and grants of up to 150 euros a month, to allow them to overcome existing social, financial, or cultural obstacles.

"With ‘grips gewinnt,’ we are campaigning for a level playing field for young people, irrespective of their origins and social status," says Uta-Micaela Dürig, Chief Executive Officer of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. Because according to the "Education in Germany 2014" report, almost one in three children under the age of 18 is unable to achieve his or her full potential due to financial, cultural, or social circumstances. Together with the Joachim Herz Foundation, the Robert Bosch Stiftung has been supporting students with difficult starting conditions since 2011 as they work toward their Abitur or Fachhochschulreife (university of applied sciences entrance qualification). The education paths of former scholarship recipients demonstrate that this support is a success as many of them have gone on to study to make it into their chosen careers.

Meet three of the scholarship recipients

At just 14, Nico had already had to repeatedly acclimatize to new situations. He had moved no less than 11 times. He nonetheless managed to get used to new schools and new peers again and again. And he knows how to seek assistance when he gets stuck: at the youth club if he is struggling with his homework, and in the future from "grips gewinnt." He has already chosen his preferred career; he wants to be an attorney. His favorite subjects at school are ethics and math. He likes ethics because he learns how to deal with people and how to get to know them. And with math, he likes the logical approach taken to tackle problems. Nico isn’t happy to simply put up with shortcomings; he looks for solutions instead. For example, he succeeded in financing a soccer court for his youth club by collecting donations. When he puts his mind to something, he aims to achieve it. It therefore comes as no surprise that one of his favorite sports is endurance running.

You have to be quite serious about something if you’re willing to have three attempts at it. Tatjana wasn’t deterred by being turned down by "grips gewinnt" twice. Quite the opposite, in fact – she further honed her application and this time she was successful. Tatjana, who lives in Hamburg, will be given support up to her Abitur next year. This will hopefully allow her to focus even more on her keen interest in languages. She and her family speak Russian, and at school she has picked up Spanish, Latin, and of course English. She passes her language skills on to younger students by giving them private tuition. It would be a dream come true for Tatjana to be able to spend some time in an English-speaking country. And if that works out well, she would also like to study abroad, although she has not yet chosen her preferred area of study. Being the first person in her family to attend university, she very much hopes that "grips gewinnt" will give her inspiration and guidance in choosing her field of study. She would also like to become more open and more sociable, especially when it comes to communicating with young people from other cultures. For this reason, too, the program is important to her.

The jury unanimously agreed that Amadou is "a prime example of successful integration." The 15-year-old fled to Berlin from Guinea in 2012, having spent the previous three years living on the streets after his parents and sister died. On arriving in Berlin, he embarked on an impressive school career – he learned German in next to no time and also quickly made up for what he had missed in other languages. His teachers and fellow high school students at Romain-Rolland-Gymnasium are impressed by his keenness to achieve, his friendly manner, and his emotional stability. He has his sights clearly set on passing the Abitur – he considers it a must. The next step in his education will then be some form of technical studies. He hopes "grips gewinnt" will support him in achieving his goals. In particular, he would like to meet other young people in similar situations to his. And he would like to share his experiences. At the introductory seminar in September, he founded a group to help refugees in Berlin with some of his fellow scholarship recipients.

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