Airbnb has launched #GetBehindTheMask to support communities struggling with the impact of COVID-19. 

Working in partnership with the Western Cape government’s community services projects – Maskathon and Afrika Tikkun – the initiative will include an online experience on how to make face masks, alongside a call to challenge others to do so.

“The spirit and creativity of the Airbnb community never fails to inspire, even in times of crisis,” said Airbnb Co-Founder, CEO and Head of Community, Brian Chesky. “We want to support this commitment from hosts on Airbnb and champion the tourism entrepreneurs who help vulnerable communities and who will help lead South Africa through this crisis.” 

Working in the front line of the campaign is an Airbnb host from KwaZulu Natal. Through the online experience, she demonstrates how to design and sew face masks. For every person who books the experience, she will donate two masks to communities in need – and Airbnb is offering coupons to the first 100 people who book so that they can enjoy the experience free.

To further support the campaign, the relief fund will provide much-needed funding to tourism entrepreneurs who participated in the Airbnb Africa Academy, a development programme that gives under-represented and under-resourced communities the tools and resources they need to participate in tourism. Airbnb will contact eligible participants and invite them to apply for a relief grant of up to R25 000 (€1 300). 

“The Airbnb Africa Academy is a programme that very much aligns with what we stand for and it’s fantastic to see how Airbnb is committed to supporting these hosts who have little to no income right now,” said CEO of Afrika Tikkun, Alef Meulenbergi.

Those who would like to join the #GetBehindTheMask initiative can do so by making masks and challenging others to do the same, joining an online experience or simply donating directly to Afrika Tikkun. All donations will assist with getting masks to communities who need them most.