Crowdfunding to support single parents in Czech Republic
To alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 policies, many initiatives have been developed by civil society organisations – NGOs, local governments, or citizens. A team of national researchers from the RESISTIRÉ project has collected and highlighted a set of particularly relevant initiatives in 27 European countries and in Iceland, Serbia, the United Kingdom and Turkey. The initiatives currently cover eight specific domains: gender-based violence, the labour market, the economy, gender-pay and pension gaps, gender care gaps, decision-making and politics, environmental justice, human and fundamental rights.
This societal initiative has been collected by: Vanda Maufras Cernohorska.
Nora Fridrichová, a journalist and philanthropist, had been focusing on supporting single parents for approximately two years prior to the pandemic. She intensified her efforts in 2020, started to collaborate more with businesses and created two initiatives to support single-parent families during the COVID-19 crisis.
Two campaigns to alleviate the pandemic’s impact on single-parent families
Single parents, in majority single mothers, are one of the most socially and economically disadvantaged groups in the Czech Republic. Their situation is a result of the intersection of several inequalities – gender, economic, social, and care-related. The initiative responds to the long-term precarious situation of single parents in the Czech Republic and the fact they have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, finding themselves in an extremely vulnerable position and at risk of economic and social exclusion.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the initiative organiser started a crowdfunding campaign providing single-parent families with food assistance (Spring 2020 – ongoing). A year later, she followed up with a clothes-oriented collection which distributes clothes, shoes, books and other items to single parents and their children.
Both activities have proved to be successful: the campaign has raised over CZK 10 million (approximately 393,000€) so far and the clothes distribution is being carried out in seven Czech cities. They are also being promoted by public figures as well as businesses which provide further financial support or other services (municipal offices are getting involved e.g . with providing free-off-rent spaces).
More is still needed to create a lasting change
Despite its success, the initiative still works on an immediate-relief basis and does not represent a sustainable change that could improve single parents’ precarious situation as a group in the long-term; when in need of state support, they are often being directed by the administrative workers themselves to this (and similar) initiatives rather than being offered systematic support from the state.
However, these campaigns have raised awareness about the vulnerability of single-parent families and have the potential to contribute to future policy changes that might lead to the improvement of the group’s position.