Student babysitters unburden employees
Two medical interns of Maastricht University (UM) – Vera Kleinveld and Emma Sanders – seized the corona crisis for a special new initiative. Under the motto "Care for care!" they have set up a network in which UM students are linked to UM employees and healthcare employees in South Limburg who can use a helping hand at home in the form of a babysitter.
After the coronavirus appeared in Europe, the pressure on the healthcare system increased enormously. Vera Kleinveld and Emma Sanders realized this immediately. Emma: “Soon after the arrival of the coronavirus in Europe, we realized what enormous burden this would put on healthcare providers: More shifts, longer shifts, more irregular shifts. We understood immediately that the coronavirus would not only cause problems in the hospital, but also outside it.” That is why the two medical interns set up the 'Student babysitter' initiative. By linking UM students to UM employees and healthcare employees in South Limburg, these employees can devote themselves to the fight against the coronavirus without worrying about the care for their children.
How does it work? Through a website, employees can register as a help seeker and students register as a babysitter. Vera and Emma then go to work to make matches as soon as possible and bring both parties into contact with each other. While matching, travel distance and availability is taken into account. For example, it is preferable to link a student with weekly public transport to a parent who needs help during the week, so that no unnecessary travel costs will be made. Emma: "Our application form is quite extensive, so we can also take into account any other matters."
Initiators Emma (left) & Vera (right)
This article is part of 'We're Open', a series of stories about the UM community’s many activities during the coronavirus pandemic.
Initially, Vera and Emma only wanted to focus on healthcare workers. However, it soon became apparent that there was also a problem for UM employees who now have to work from home. “Teaching from home when a number of (young) children run around turned out to be quite difficult. So we decided to link students to UM employees as well,” says Vera. “And although we were specifically looking for student babysitters for children, we also paired a student with a 9-year-old, enthusiastic, brown-haired... four-legged friend! He had to be taken out several times a week, but this was no longer possible due to the irregular hospital services of the owner,” adds Emma.
Students and employees are responsible themselves for taking measures regarding the risk of infection of the coronavirus, and are expected to comply with the measures taken by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. Personal responsibility prevails, for both the student and the babysitting family.
The initiative turns out to be a great success. “We are overwhelmed by the large number of students that applied. Great to see!" says Emma. Vera: “Organizing this project is very satisfying. We receive a lot of positive reactions from students and parents, who are very happy that they are offered a helping hand so quickly after registering on our website.”
So, are you a student and would you like to contribute to this initiative? Or are you a UM employee or healthcare employee in South Limburg who could use an extra hand at home? Visit https://studentenoppas.wordpress.com/ for more information and sign up right away!
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