Women Empowering Women

When women support each other, incredible things happen.

One of our accelerator startups, Au Pairs for Change, is striving to empower female students from developing countries by connecting them to au pair opportunities with Australian families through an online platform.

Alyssa and Cristina, co-founders of Au Pairs for Change, have merged Cristina’s experiences as a time-poor, young mother, and Alyssa's passion for upskilling women to create social impact.

If the concept of an au pair is foreign to you, an au pair is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, au pairs take on a share of the family's responsibility for childcare, as well as some housework.

The au pairing system is wildly popular across Europe and the U.S. So much so that America and Germany have a designated au pair visa that allows au pairs to reside legally in the country for 12 months while caring for children in a program-approved host family.

However, the au pair system is unregulated in Australia, and there is currently no au pair visa available for individuals, resulting in limited access to flexible and affordable early childcare options.

During early childhood years, mothers struggle to find time for themselves and childcare is expensive. Childcare can cost as much as a single income annually forcing families with dual incomes often have to have a difficult conversation as to who stays at home and forfeits their career to be with the children.

The average cost of childcare for one child for the average Melbournian is $128/day, which totals $384 part-time, and $640 full-time/week. The average Australian household has two children… you can see where we’re going with this. Expensive.

Au Pairs For Change has a subscription-based business model, with a one-off $200 placement fee, and a fee of $50/week. Cristina and Alyssa’s mission is to make support for women with children affordable and accessible.

On the other side of the coin, international students from developing countries have limited access to international travel and cultural immersion. Australia is ranked in the top 10 most livable countries in the world, and employment opportunities are vast in comparison to that in developing countries. In this program, the benefits are mutual.

Long-term, Alyssa and Cristina hope to use the profits generated from Au Pairs for Change to develop programs to empower disadvantaged women from developing countries focusing on developing self-esteem, leadership, and communication skills towards employability.

If you know someone who would be interested and would benefit from participating in the program, reach out to Au Pairs for Change here.

Read on to find out more about Alyssa and Cristina’s journeys.

How did Au Pairs for Change come into being? 

Cristina: Alyssa and I have been friends for over 15 years. One day we were just doing one of our regular catch-ups over lunch, and both of us touched on issues we are passionate about. Alyssa was talking about the lack of opportunities for women in developing countries, and I was complaining about being a single mum and being time-poor, unable to go after a career. We put our two passions together and came up with Au Pairs for Change.

Pictured: Cristina (right) and Alyssa (left) of Au Pairs for Change.

How do you see Au Pairs for Change creating real value for your customers?

Alyssa: The more I speak with our customers, it is evident that women have high expectations to live up to (self-created and societally) being a great mother, and not ask for help. We’ve seen that women have sacrificed their own personal identities or career ambitions to prioritise the health and happiness of their children.

Au Pairs for Change is a real game-changer in empowering mothers to feel supported at home. Most importantly if they want and/or need help, it should be accessible to all. Very few can afford a live-in nanny, but with Au Pairs for Change everyone can afford a live-in au pair.

What experience do you both bring to the startup that makes you the right people to tackle this problem?

Alyssa: Au Pairs for Change is a fusion of Cristina’s experiences as a time-poor single mother, and my passion to upskill women in developing countries. Cristina has a Business Degree, and I have been working in Digital Communication for over three years with the United Nations. We believe that our passion for the problem, complementary skill sets, and the trust between makes us the right people to get this startup to success.

What’s been the most fulfilling thing about your startup journey so far?

Alyssa: The fulfilling thing so far is working day in and day out on a project I genuinely care about. The best feeling is being able to connect with each of our customers and knowing that we are creating a positive impact in their lives.

What is the long-term vision for Au Pairs for Change?

Cristina: Innovating the au pair industry and making the service more accessible to mothers in need. I want Au Pairs for Change to be a respected organisation in Australia that is changing the lives of its customers for the better.