Taking action during the crisis
The company had about 500 matches living together when the COVID-19 crisis hit. Right away, about 80% of the students left Brussels and the eight other Belgian cities where their universities had closed classrooms. The team behind 1Toit2Ages quickly took steps to help clients who were in trouble.
“We set up a platform to allow volunteers to call elderly people who were suddenly isolated, and it was a big success, with hundreds of calls made,” Claire says. “And we realised many of the students who remained had lost their jobs, making it hard to afford rent or food.”
The company sought donations and delivered food packages to the students.
Queen Mathilde of Belgium has been a supporter of the programme since 2012. During the lockdown, she contacted Claire and Regis and asked if she could speak to a matched pair to see how they were doing. The call was a success, and the Queen was impressed.
“Many of the pairs who stayed together during the lockdown formed very strong relationships,” Claire says. “They really took care of each other.”