The Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February shook the world and brought it to a standstill. While governments and international organisations are trying to help Ukrainians in various ways, some individual acts of solidarity are trying to alleviate the suffering of people in Ukraine during the war.
This article highlights an alternative way to directly help Ukrainians through the Airbnb platform. Airbnb is a corporation based in the United States that runs an online marketplace for lodging, mainly homestays for vacation rentals, and tourism activities all over the world. Even though he company runs a separate campaign to assist Ukrainian refugees, an individual initiative started by a single person to help Ukrainians through the platform has quickly gained popularity among hundreds of people.
It all started on 2 March, when the Instagram account Quentin.Quarantino run by a Brooklyn-based influencer Tommy Marcus launched a campaign to support Ukrainian households by renting Airbnb apartments in Ukraine without actually staying there. Last year, Marcus raised $7 million on GoFundMe to help evacuate Afghan refugees. Now, within just a day, hundreds of people have joined the initiative and started booking rental units in the areas of Ukraine where citizens are facing acute financial difficulties as a result of the Russian invasion. In response to the campaign, Airbnb announced that all guest and host fees on bookings in Ukraine, which typically range from 3% to 15%, would be waived and the money would go to the Ukrainian hosts instead.
So if you’re looking for a way to support people in Ukraine during the war, booking a stay you won’t use and donating money straight to the host in need could be a good option.
It’s worth noting that the company has ceased operations in Russia and Belarus. Additionally, it offers free housing to people fleeing Ukraine through its associate non-profit Airbnb.org. The website enables hosts to sign up and offer free housing to Ukrainian refugees. As of 6 March, more than 11,000 hosts have joined in an effort to help Ukraine.
In times of conflict when people are subjected to not only physical but also emotional and psychological suffering, loss, and trauma, any act of solidarity and assistance can make a difference!
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