A help alliance aid project - supported by your miles
Fifteen years ago, Miles & More teamed up with help alliance, the charitable aid organisation of the Lufthansa Group, to make the world a slightly better place with the help of Miles & More members. Around 715,000,000 miles have been donated so far, making it possible to bring countless aid projects to fruition. Find out more here.
Over the coming months, we would like to present to you the most important projects supported by Miles & More members, starting with a project in Flörsheim, Germany:
since April 2014, the Stern des Südens (Star of the South) Association in Flörsheim has been helping 6 to 16-year-old children with a refugee or migration background to integrate into society by introducing them to the German language in a playful and creative way. The project is based on providing education and language support to improve the educational opportunities of disadvantaged children in the long term. The main focus is on enabling local children to achieve adequate school qualifications. Efforts are then extended to help integrate the whole family.
The “Language support for children with a migration background” project has been supported by mileage donations from Miles & More members since 2017. So far, around 6,000,000 miles have been contributed to this project.
You too can help: continue to support, or start supporting, the charitable work of help alliance and in doing so help disadvantaged children and youngsters all over the world.
You can do good by donating as little as 3,000 miles. After all, every little helps to achieve great things.
Five questions put to project manager Michael Kopf (Lufthansa co-pilot)
1. What motivated you to take charge of this project?
There was a period in 2015 when I was unfit to fly and wanted to do something useful with my time while I was out of action, so I wrote to help alliance in October 2015 asking whether there was any way I could help.
They were looking for a German teacher to teach children with a migration background and refugees in Flörsheim on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Although I was sceptical at first, I went along with their playful learning style and jumped right in at the deep end.
It soon became clear that this playful approach worked very well for those with no prior knowledge of the other language, and we were able to teach our pupils German.
After two to three months of working with the association and with demand growing continuously in the wake of the refugee crisis, it became necessary to expand the programme. A project manager was called for to take over responsibility for the help alliance. After just three months, I had the opportunity to educate children through my teaching work and to make a significant contribution through my request for further funding and my project management role, which resulted in the “Stern des Südens” becoming an integral part of help alliance projects. It is now possible to teach 60 children per week.
Option Tell us about the current day-to-day routine there.
Before the pandemic, we had two groups of 30 children on alternate days four days a week. This enabled us to teach German to 60 children a week. We have now expanded our teaching to include tutoring and help with homework, as the children are now mostly proficient in German.
When the pandemic began and strict lockdown measures were introduced, we had to close our doors. Luckily, we were able to open them again pretty quickly once the necessary hygiene measures were in place. At the moment, we are managing to teach 15 children per group with the correct social distancing, which means 30 children twice a week.
In total, we have had about 150 children under our tutelage over the past six years.
3. Where do the children typically come from?
We make everybody welcome. We teach children from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Romania, Albania, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Russia and Germany.
For example, we teach Padre, who mentioned in conversation that he’s from Syria but made his way by sea via Egypt to Greece and from there walked to Germany.
And there’s Sila, whose parents’ language difficulties resulted in them attending an appointment at the school only to realise that the “appointment” in question was actually for their daughter’s enrolment.
4. What do you find most inspiring about the project in Flörsheim?
I was most impressed by the warmth and openness of the people right from the word go. Lisette Schwarz (the founder of the association) welcomed me with open arms, and I was made to feel part of the team very early on.
I also really enjoy working with the Lufthansa colleagues from different divisions when I’m there. There are four of us from Lufthansa from totally different divisions within the Group.
So it’s not only working with the children that has broadened my horizons, but also gaining a glimpse into the varied world of Lufthansa.
5. Why would you recommend that Miles & More members donate to help alliance?
Involving Lufthansa Group employees in project management as a link between the project and help alliance ensures that the miles end up where they belong - with the children. As project managers, we work on a voluntary basis and not only suggest projects, but also take responsibility for them. This means that help alliance can keep a close eye on the projects it supports worldwide and always has a Lufthansa member of staff at hand to talk to.
Project manager Michael Kopf introduces himself
“After completing my school-leaving exams in 2006, I initially studied physics while going through the Lufthansa selection process. I started training as a junior pilot at the Aviation Training School in Bremen in December 2007. I was appointed first officer at Lufthansa in 2011, and I have now been working for Lufthansa as a co-pilot on the A320s for ten years. In my spare time, I like spending time with my family, going stand-up paddleboarding and playing the guitar. I’m also an active member of the fire brigade.”