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When learning connects generations

"To guarantee inclusive, equal and high-quality education and to promote opportunities for lifelong learning for all" - this is goal 4 of the UN agenda for sustainable development. In Austria, parents' origin and socio-economic status determine whether young people can develop their educational potential. There is often a lack of necessary resources outside of school. In the OMA / OPA project in Vienna and Lower Austria, voluntary “learning maids and grandpas” help improve the starting chances of 90 children and young people every year. The joint learning enables an exchange of experience and knowledge from which both sides benefit in the long term.

Simran and Carry tell how an adventure is created. Simran's family is originally from India. In the OMA / OPA project, she was supported from the first grade of elementary school to the successful graduation - from the third grade of the new middle school by Carry. The Viennese has been involved in the OMA / OPA project as a learning grandma since retirement. They both remember their first meeting very well.

Carrie: That was three years ago. We started learning right away. Sure math. I studied computer science and tried to take Simran's fear of numbers away. I can learn a lot from her in English. We did it together. I think it's important that the children learn that adults are not perfect in everything and that they can still be successful. After studying there was always time to play, but Simran often said “let's just chat”. Then you talked about your grandmother's village in India, for example. I have never met anyone from India before.

Simran: The best experience was on my birthday. I wanted to be a flight attendant back then. Then we took a tour that showed us the airport. We were even in the terminal where the presidents are received. Carry later helped me find a technical school. We went to the open house together and to register because my mom doesn't speak German very well. Now I'm doing my apprenticeship in catering services and will have my final exam next year. I always meet with Carry and we stay in touch via WhatsApp.

Carrie: I would recommend the OMA / OPA project to others. I find it particularly positive that it is not tutoring, but that a close relationship is created. I also enjoy exchanging ideas with other volunteers, which enables new friendships to be made.

Simran: For me it was important to get support outside of school. I've developed myself over the years and now I have many options. I also grew fond of the people involved in the project. It was just fun - Carry and I had a real adventure (both laugh). 


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Written by Association NL40

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