A mentor for Jamal: Henrik Kinnemann is responsible for future developments for Siemens and for a nine-year-old

04. May 2016

A mentor for Jamal

Henrik Kinnemann is responsible for future developments for Siemens and for a nine-year-old

Bild: © Adlershof Journal

Henrik Kinnemann and Jamal

They have been canoeing “on the track of the beaver” in the Oderbruch, fishing in the Havel river, and went to see the children’s opera “The Cunning Little Vixen” at the Deutsche Oper. They also went to explore the Christmas market in Rixdorf together. Henrik Kinnemann drives from Rudow to Lichtenrade twice a month to meet up with Jamal. Jamal is nine years old, an expert swimmer and diver, and a keen angler. ”We really complement each other,” says Kinnemann.

We met to do the interview at “Kamee caffé & espresso bar” on Rudower Chaussee very near to the Adlershof branch of Siemens, where he works. Sixty employees work there, developing prototypes for the future of electrical mobility, recharging stations for electric busses, and current collectors for trucks. University-trained as a computer scientist, Kinnemann is the quality manager and responsible for product security. But this is only the professional side of his life. Three keywords stand for what he does beyond that: singing, dancing and biffy.

Kinnemann is a member of “Männer-Minne“, a choir dedicated to pop music in German and other languages, too. For the last two years, he has also been a regular visitor of the dancing school “Traumtänzer” where he practises the waltz, rumba, cha-cha-cha, and European tango. Lastly, there is biffy: this could have been mentioned first because biffy is his greatest passion. It was through biffy that he found Jamal.

Biffy stands for “Big Friends for Youngsters“. This Berlin-based initiative wants to bring together children with grown-ups who spend time with them. “I was extremely fortunate to have amazing parents and amazing grandparents,” says Kinnemann. “Many children don’t grow up in such sheltered lives.” Thirty-two percent of children in Berlin grow up with only one parent, usually with the mother, which is one-third more compared to the German average. Biffy offers them help.

Kinnemann has a lot of respect for Jamal for being such a keen athlete: “There is no way I could ever keep up with him.” On the other hand: “I give him some input, he wouldn’t have without me” – like culture, science, and technology. The visit to the opera was a first for the talented and eager boy. A visit to the “Long Night of the Sciences” has already been arranged.

Biffy has set up 900 such mentorships since its founding in 2004. They currently have 230 voluntary mentors which is hardly enough to meet the demand. Kinnemann remarks: “Men are in high demand because most children live with their single mothers.”

The voluntary association runs an office with two part-time employees and does not get a single penny’s worth of government aid. Therefore their financial situation is a permanent problem. Kinnemann is putting his hopes into the auctioning of donated pieces of art. The fundraising auction will take place in June, not far from biffy’s office in Urbanstraße in Kreuzberg.

By Winfried Dolderer for Adlershof Journal

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