Pro Bono Connect seeks mentors for project with young asylum seekers

For a project called “Know Your Rights” (see below), Pro Bono Connect seeks approximately 20 mentors (legal professionals) who are willing to serve as a mentor for young asylum seekers for the course of the project.

We are looking for:

  • Lawyers motivated to be a mentor for young asylum seekers
  • Who are willing to meet with the mentee a few times during the project (from September throughout December 2017)
  • Who can attend the launch event on 20 June 2017 (see below)
  • Who speak Dutch and/or English

‘Know Your Rights’ Project

Pro Bono Connect and the Dutch Section of the International Commission of Jurists (NJCM) have joined forces with New Dutch Connections, the Leiden Law Clinic, and DLA Piper to realize a project aimed at empowering asylum seekers.

Know Your Rights is a 12-week project, starting in September, during which some 20 young asylum seekers (until the age of 30) attend weekly 2-hour sessions on various (human) rights issues. The goal is to empower them by increasing their knowledge of the (Dutch / European / International) legal system, the rights of asylum seekers and how to stand up for their rights. The underlying understanding is to give back the feeling that they have autonomy over who they are in this world, which is often lost while they stay in asylum seekers centers.

During the project, every asylum student will be assigned a mentor (a legal professional) for the course of the project (September-December). The idea is that the refugee students will also build a (professional) network throughout the project.

The role of the mentors

The mentor’s role is to act as a sparring-partner, who will be able to share knowledge on the Dutch legal infrastructure and network. Simply put: provide insight on how things work in our Dutch legal world, from looking for a job, to the court system, to corporate culture. The mentors should be prepared to meet with the student a few times over the course of the project. Furthermore, the student may seek the help from the mentor for matters related to homework and preparations of the final presentation, which is to be held by the student at the end of the project.

Launch of the project

The project will be launched on Tuesday 20 June 2017, the day that marks World Refugee Day. During this event, the program will be presented, refugees will share their stories, and the participants, mentors, teachers etc. come together for the first time to get to know each other. Snacks, drinks and live music will further color the event. It is important that all mentors attend the launch event! (Location TBD)

Further information on the parties involved

The content of the program is currently being developed by the Leiden Law Clinic, under supervision of Prof. mr. A.G. Castermans, in collaboration with legal experts in the various fields. New Dutch Connection selects the asylum seekers (mainly based on motivation and language skills, proficient Dutch or English), and Pro Bono Connect / NJCM make the connections between all parties, i.e. finding the legal experts, teachers, mentors, locations etc. Since the beginning of this project, DLA Piper has been a strong supporter of this project in various ways, for which we extend our warm thanks.

Sign up and/or questions?

Are you interested in the fun and inspiring role of a mentor, or should you have any further questions, please contact Lara Talsma at


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