Do you ever wonder what it was like living in between Geneva and Lausanne (or Coppet and Rolle) as an expatriate BEFORE the Internet age? When the area known as La Cote was essentially rural with very few expatriates?
The women who followed their spouses in the 70s, 80s & 90s can all tell you what it was like, how difficult it was to meet others, how much longer it took to feel settled, how dependent they were on their spouses, etc. etc. It was hard. Luckily, in the early 80s it was made a bit easier when a small group of expatriate women came together and started a membership-based organisation with activities, events and a monthly newsletter. The women who founded the International Women’s Club of Nyon, the IWCN, were pioneers. If you head out to one of their coffee mornings some of the founders are still here and you can find out exactly what it was like and how the IWCN came to be.
Fast-forward 25 years and the population of 30-something parents had exploded. There were pockets of coffee mornings and playgroups (thank you to the organisers, you know who you are!) and the Know-it-All Passport handbook was there to help you find additional resources, but otherwise young parents had a really hard time meeting each other. There was a need for another organisation to support them, yet until 2009, such a community did not exist. How difficult must it have been for those who came between 2000 & 2010? Almost as hard as it was in the 70s I bet! It took someone to see that there was such a need and using the online platforms that were available at the time, in April 2009, Moms-in-Vaud came to be.
Four years on, MiV has grown. You can use the various platforms to find help, to find friends, to share information, to support others in crisis, to sell your goods when you move or when your kids grow up, to organise and RSVP for activities, etc., etc. etc. To ensure its online platforms continue to be a safe place to turn to for such information, support and advice, they are moderated and kept free of spam and marketing.
Similar services cost upwards of 100-300CHF per year, some of these fees used to pay a permanent staff member. MiV is currently free. But as of April 2013, we now have more members, active and passive, than the other paying clubs in the area. When we were a small group of fewer than 200, it made sense that it was free, but as it now touches over 1,000 families, things have changed. Running MiV is now a full-time job.
So on this 4th Anniversary this blog post is a call out for help. What is this community worth to you? Have you settled into Switzerland and found friends more easily because of its different platforms? If you are the working parent with a partner & kids at home, how much more support would you have needed to offer your partner if our community wasn’t around? Would long working hours and frequent travel be feasible in this case? What if MiV ceased to exist? Or, what if it changed and anyone could join the different e-groups, could post what they wanted, and didn’t have to introduce themselves to the group? What if several emails per day came in asking you to join a class or buy a product or service? What then? Would you, as an active member become passive? Would you as a passive member, leave altogether?
Without support from others, MiV will cease to exist in its current form.
In the summer of 2013, MiV closed as a free service. A free e-newsletter was created (to which all former MIV users were subscribed) and a new Parents Club was opened. To join the Parents Club & gain access to its online Support Groups and other services, fill in a membership application form.
Edited March 2014