How You Can Help Ukrainian Families, One Airbnb Booking At a Time
Shortly after one of my good college friends, Bette, graduated, she was offered a job at the Kyiv branch of her advertising agency. The job came with a nice promotion and some terrific experience that would have taken her years to achieve if she were to remain in the United States. It was the kind of job you can only take fresh out of college, and she enthusiastically did.
She was only supposed to stay in Kyiv for 18 months, but the people were so nice that she decided to stay on for an additional year. Now, years later, her Facebook page is loaded with firsthand accounts from the friends she made living in the capital city of Ukraine.
She posted one story this morning that really caught my attention. It addressed the problem of what exactly these Ukrainian refugees are supposed to do once they leave their homeland.
This is my friend Nina. She was the Art Director at DMB&B Kyiv when I worked there. Nina escaped Kyiv this week and is now in Berlin. While I’ve been focused on people getting safe, I hadn’t thought much about the “now what?" Ukrainians are fleeing with the clothes on their back and a suitcase, leaving behind their jobs and homes and everything in them. People are opening their homes to them - but the fact remains, they need to make money. As Nina said, “I will need an opportunity to earn money, the money will soon run out." Imagine having to think about that while dealing with the trauma of the past couple of weeks and the total unknown of what the future holds.
Sometimes when world calamities happen, they can become overwhelming. A few instances that come to mind are 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 tsunami, and now Ukraine. The human suffering is incredible. The desire to help exists, but sometimes I feel hesitant to give to a massive effort.
I've always preferred to give to smaller, grassroots efforts where you know the direct results of your giving.
I read about one terrific idea that I wanted to share.
To help get money directly to a regular Ukrainian family at the ground level, some people have started to book Airbnb lodgings in Ukraine. They obviously have no intention of traveling there, but the money will get directly to the displaced families.
The apartment pictured above is right in the center Kyiv. It is $29 a night. Who knows if it still exists right now, but booking it (or one like it) would directly help a Ukrainian family. The money would show up in their account if they are in Berlin, Poland, or elsewhere.
Something to consider at a time so many of us feel helpless.