Guidelines for Mentors

  Mentor’s Commitment

  • The mentor & mentee are required to meet for at least 1 hour and 2-3 times a month. The minimum commitment expected is 12 meetings (within 6 months). A mentor is expected to be available for this period.

  • It is recommended to have a short phone call on the weekends you are not meeting.
  • If a mentor is found not meeting or interacting over the phone for a period of 1 month, Dream A Dream will seek an explanation and try to re-unite parties. If still not resolved, mentor-mentee may be advised to drop-out of the program.
  • On completion of 6 months, if both the parties agree, mentor-mentee can exit the program or the mentoring relationship can be continued for another 12 meetings across 6 months.  
  • On completion of 12 months/1 year (24 meetings), if mentor-mentee decide to continue, mentoring can transition to 1 meeting per month plus a phone call every week. 
  • The mentor would need to set expectations about availability or duration of mentoring term at the very beginning. They also need to explain closure to the mentee 1 month in advance to give the mentee time to come to terms with the closure.

As a Mentor, 

  • Be aware of your limitations and do not be too hard on yourself if progress is slow and you do not see any visible results or change. Be patient. Relationships take time to develop.  
  • Try to avoid comparing the success or nature of your relationship with your mentee, with others. Every relationship is unique and different as mentors and mentees have different personalities.
  • Some young people take time to open up and tend to maintain a safe distance. However this is unlikely to come in the way of mentoring and meeting your mentee. Do not be discouraged. Keeping trying and let your mentee know you are there.  
  • Try to avoid problem solving on behalf of the mentee. This may not be easy and so we have to hold ourselves back when we hear stories of mentees. But you can be a guide to help the mentee understand possible options available to him/her. Allow the mentee make his/her own decision although you may not completely agree with his/her ultimate choice. We just have to accept and let go.  
  • Many aspects of a mentee’s life are largely influenced by circumstances, family situation or financial situation. This is something we do not try to change in our role as a mentor. Our role is largely to help the mentee cope with daily life and the challenges that come with it and develop confidence to manage challenges in the future, through validation. It is less about changing the mentee’ current life situation. This is hard for many of us, as we look for visible results and ways to help the mentee. So please try to not commit more and create an unhealthy dependency.
  • If challenges arise, either in your relationship with your mentee, or your involvement with the project itself, please inform Dream A Dream as soon as possible so that we can work together to resolve the situation.


  • You may spend on simple refreshments & snacks (tea/coffee/juice/snacks). Try to keep spends within Rs.100-120.
  • Preferably have these refreshments with your mentee, at an affordable local coffee/shop restaurant/bakery in the neighbourhood that the mentee is likely to visit. Branded coffee chains and sit-down restaurants, though may seem normal to us, may be places your mentee is unlikely to visit and find expensive. The reason we advice this, is to allow the mentee to be comfortable and more in touch with daily reality than us creating a desire the parents may not be able to give to the mentee or afford. It may also sometimes seem awkward and patronising.
  • Please do not commit to financial assistance or offer gifts even if a mentee suggests the same. This tends to build dependency. It also leads to other mentees expecting the same. You can however, educate and direct the child/family to other organisations that provide financial assistance...etc with the help of Dream A Dream.
  • If needed, a small allowance will be provided to cover some of the expenses incurred for mentor-mentee meetings (for refreshments / travel) not more than Rs.150-200 per meeting. This needs to be collected once a month. If you wish to avail of this allowance, please inform Dream A Dream at the start of mentoring, to be included in this list.

Scheduling Meetings 

  • Inform the mentee, at least 2-3 days in advance. Remember, the mentee may not have access to a phone at all times. Sometimes the community partner center may not allow phone calls. Sometimes the mentee’s number changes or phone could be lost. Sometimes they use their parent’s phone. So, mentors would need to plan schedules ahead.  
  • If the mentee is not reachable use the assistance of the partner community center to coordinate with the mentee. Here also, please inform the staff at least 2-3 days in advance. 
  • If due to any personal/official work a mentor is not able to meet the mentee, the mentee needs to be informed at least 1 day in advance.
  • If you are not able to get through to the mentee despite several attempts, please inform Dream A Dream. 
  • Please share 1 or 2 contact numbers with mentee so that they can call to confirm / cancel a meeting when required.
  • You are to meet your mentee at the partner NGO/community center or in the neighbourhood/ community of the mentee.  It’s possible for mentees to forget about meetings and so need to be reminded 1 day before or the same day.

Going out/Learning Experiences/Activities

  • After the first 5 meetings, mentor-mentees can go out to places for learning purposes such as book store, bank, park, college, govt office...etc, but not too far from the neighbourhood.
  • Such trips need to be during the day and within the curfew hours of parents or partner community centers.  Mentors are required to inform the partner NGO center and make sure there is parental consent when the mentee is taken out. A list of ideas and approved activities will be provided by Dream A Dream staff.

Best Behaviour
  • Mentors are not to smoke, consume alcohol or use abusive language in the presence of the mentee.Mentors are to interact with an open mind. The mentee is a different person and comes from a different socio-economic background. They need your acceptance and encouragement. Mentors should not be judgemental or be insensitive to cultural norms.
  • Mentors are to be careful of their actions in public, when with a mentee. Mentors are requested not to be discourteous to people around, especially beggars, waiters, auto-rickshaw drivers, children...etc. Remember, one of them could be someone the mentee knows.


  • It is recommended to opt for simple/ conservative attire and avoid valuables like jewellery, carrying laptop or camera. Since we are outsiders, we tend to get a lot of attention.

Child Protection/Safety

  • Mentors should not resort to any form of corporal punishment or violence (beating, slapping, pushing etc). This will mean immediate drop-out from the program.All meetings are to be at assigned community centers, the mentee’s neighbourhood or public spaces.
  • Mentors are not allowed to meet the mentee at mentor’s residence or residences of friends/relatives ...etc or stay overnight with the mentee.

  • Any inappropriate physical contact/intimacy with the mentee will mean immediate action and drop-out from the program.

  • Discussions with mentee are confidential and kept within Dream A Dream team and group of mentors. They are not to be shared with mentee’s peers/family without mentee’s consent.

    • Mentors should try to avoid disclosure or publishing of a child’s identity, address or photographs on external websites or personal or company blogs. Details of mentee’s life are not to be shared with media without consent and permission of the mentee & Dream A Dream.

    Additional Responsibilities - Internal Processes  

    • A change in the “contact details” should be immediately communicated to Dream A Dream. All information that is furnished, need to be accurate and true and complete in every aspect.
    • Mentors will be monitored and are required to maintain notes and update the concerned Dream A Dream staff with the progress of mentoring relationship. A report (short email) needs to go to the concerned Dream A Dream staff after each meeting with the mentee. The report should contain:-
      • Nature of Activity
      • Key points of conversation with the mentee
      • Observations of the mentee’s behaviour
      • Kind of validation offered
      • Any learnings/challenges faced

    • Mentors are required to attend Reflective Practice Sessions. These are group meetings for mentors organised once in 2 months. At these meetings mentors discuss challenges, share their learnings and offer validation for each other. It is also a forum to practice validation skills.
    • Mentors are required to assist Dream A Dream with periodic evaluations (3 months)