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. These Better Stories 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 Better Story was collected by Nathalie Wuiame
Offering care after school
The Relay houses (maisons relais) are operated by municipalities alone or with the support of facility managers from CSOs (in this case, the Red Cross). Their primary objective is to provide parents with the option to work by offering care after school hours or during closures. These houses offer temporary socio-educational care for children and young people under 18 outside regular school hours. They primarily cater to families residing in the municipality or children attending school there.
Expanding the support to all professions
However, the availability of Maisons Relais services is not uniform across all communities. The range of services provided, including opening hours and offerings, can differ based on the municipality. Typically, these facilities operate from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. During the second and third lockdowns in Luxembourg, there was a critical need to establish childcare options for essential workers, particularly those in hospital settings. As a result, the state enlisted major facility managers (such as Caritas, Croix-Rouge, Arcus, Elisabeth) and prominent municipalities (including Luxembourg and Esch-sur-Alzette) to collaboratively set up emergency structures to support parents working in hospitals. Initially, this assistance was limited to doctors and nurses, but it was subsequently expanded to encompass all professions with key roles in hospitals, including cleaners and logistics personnel.