Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began at the end of February, more than 10 million people have been forced to leave their homes in Ukraine as the war has disrupted normal life throughout the land and put millions of civilians in grave danger. More than four million of these people have had to leave the country.
Efforts to accommodate these refugees are taking many forms and will continue to pose a huge challenge for the foreseeable future. Individuals, governments, aid organisations and companies are all looking for ways to help in this situation.
Can au pairing also play a supporting role?
At AuPairWorld we believe that it can. But we see this as a limited role that works through the traditional cooperative structures of the au pairing model.
To be more specific, among the millions of people who have been forced to leave Ukraine, there are definitely also young persons who fit the typical criteria to become an au pair:
- Between the ages of 18 and 30
- Single and without their own children
- Interested in providing childcare in a host family
- Have at least beginner's skills in the language of the planned host country
For such young people, an au pair placement with a welcoming host family could be a highly beneficial way to find a footing in a very difficult situation.
Young people who want to learn more about au pairing can visit the AuPairWorld homepage for au pairs for a comprehensive explanation about how au pairing works.
What au pairing can offer and what it cannot
In presenting the criteria necessary for a successful au pair placement, we want to make it clear that au pairing definitely has something to offer in the present crisis, but it's possibilities are necessarily limited.
Au pairs go to families with young children that they initially do not know. Such families will want to provide a warm welcome, but they do not have the resources or the skills to do more than develop a typical au pair cooperation with a young person from abroad. Therefore, prospective au pairs from Ukraine just like au pairs from other countries need to be in a position to take on childcare responsibilities in a typical family situation.
The role of the host family
Families interested in hosting a young person from Ukraine also need to meet certain basic requirements. With variations from country to country, these typically include the following:
- A host family will have at least one child under the age of 18 who the au pair will help to take care of
- The family will provide the au pair with a room of their own and full board during the au pair stay plus a standard amount of pocket money
- The family will include the au pair in their family life as a temporary family member who takes part in regular family activities on an equal basis
Again, au pairing can certainly serve as a wonderful means for a family to help a young person from Ukraine, but only if a family as whole (including the kids) is committed to the au pairing experience in general.
Families who want to learn more about au pairing can visit the AuPairWorld homepage for host families.
The AuPairWorld platform
The AuPairWorld platform is designed to bring interested families and young people into contact with each other and let them take the first steps of getting to know each other in preparation for an au pair stay. This is a powerful resource for international exchange and cultural cooperation.
In the context of the current crisis, the platform will give young people and families a chance to reach out to each other and make connections and to learn about how to organise a successful au pair stay as a shared project.
We certainly hope that many Ukrainian young people and host families worldwide will be able to take advantage of it, and even more that peace comes soon to Ukraine.