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Pro Bono project: LERNBAR successfully launched

Students of the University of Liechtenstein working to help Liechtenstein children: In the winter semester 2014/2015 the University of Liechtenstein dedicated its Pro Bono Project elective subject to setting up an extracurricular learning support scheme for children in Liechtenstein. As a result it has proved possible to launch the LERNBAR scheme, created by two Liechtenstein teachers, on 28 January.

Students of the University of Liechtenstein working to help Liechtenstein children

In the winter semester 2014/2015 the University of Liechtenstein dedicated its Pro Bono Project elective subject to setting up an extracurricular learning support scheme for children in Liechtenstein. As a result it has proved possible to launch the LERNBAR scheme, created by two Liechtenstein teachers, on 28 January.


Students of the cross-departmental elective subject ‘Pro Bono Project – Promoting Education’ spent from September 2014 to January 2015 devising the organisational and structural framework for the project launched by Hanny Büchel and Lisi Hassler, two local teachers. Mathias Mathauer from Germany and Florian Büchel from Liechtenstein are students on the Business Management course (with a special focus on International Financial Services in the fifth semester). They worked with the two teachers, and with the further support of Stephan Berchtold and Ruth Jochum-Gasser of the University of Liechtenstein, to develop a strategy for the learning promotion project. This was the first objective, followed by further steps – finding a suitable organisational form for the project, choosing a name, formulating statutes, developing administrative support tools, a website, a logo and a Corporate Identity and so on. 



Combined forces: Lisi Hassler and Hanny Büchel with Liechtenstein student Florian Büchel at the official opening of the Lernbar project


LERNBAR: extracurricular assistance

The result of this methodical development process was the LERNBAR Association. Its services are aimed first and foremost at children of primary school age. LERNBAR takes on those who need additional educational input and wish to enrol for learning support. It is not always possible to give children the backup they need in the home.  

An empty kindergarten in Balzers is being used for the project. This is where Hanny Büchel, Lisi Hassler and voluntary assistants help children do their homework and prepare for tests every Wednesday afternoon. They also aim to encourage the children’s speaking and reading skills, and strengthen their knowledge of basics. The main focus is on the individual requirements of the children, and those areas where they are particularly in need of help. Other priorities are to encourage social interaction, healthy activities in break time and space for creative learning.

As enthusiastic remedial teachers, they try to pass on their pleasure in learning to the children and help them to cope with the demands of school. For attendance at the LERNBAR project, each child pays a nominal contribution of 5 Swiss francs for the afternoon.  


Pro Bono: practical experience for studies


The project enables the students to apply what they have learned from their studies in direct dialogue with the teachers, and to test the effectiveness of their business plan in practice. ‘It was all the more instructive in that the project did not take place in the sheltered context of a teaching institution, but was firmly grounded in business realities, with all the difficulties and obstacles that entails,’ says Florian Büchel, summing up. And his fellow-student Mathias Mathauer adds: ‘Creativity and improvisation were repeatedly called for, with a view to progressing the idea and establishing it on a firm footing.’


Committed supporters sought


Of course the project costs cannot be covered just by the children’s contribution of 5 Swiss francs. Depending on the family income, the effective costs are financed either by the families themselves or by third-party funding. The LERNBAR team is still looking for sponsorship support. Lisi Hassler and Hanny Büchel have so far succeeded in obtaining support from the Balzers municipal council, the Liachtbleck Foundation and the Liechtenstein-Eschnerberg Rotary Club.


Further information may be found at www.uni.li/kommunikation and www.lernbar.li.