We’ve all heard the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child,” but many millennial and gen X parents know that the village just isn’t what it used to be. There are a variety of different factors that result in parents raising children without a village, including relocation and limited work-life balance. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many schools to indefinitely shut their doors and take up remote learning, the need for a tribe has spiked tremendously.
“Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, I vividly remember having aunties, uncles, neighbors, and friends stop by to help at the spur of the moment while we were growing up. That nostalgic feeling was what I hoped to experience when I became a mom after I moved to the US, which was grossly lacking,” Toyosi Babalola, Founder and CEO of Hello My Village, told MadameNoire. “I’ve worked in the IT industry for well over a decade, and like most parents, I struggled to achieve that so-called work-family-life balance.”
The balancing act grew in its complexity when Babalola was required to seek physical therapy for a medical condition.
“As a single mom and a scoliosis warrior, the struggles were even more exacerbated when I needed to go into therapy and family was so far away,” recalled Babalola. “We all know how the US works. We’re always busy, no one has the time. So to survive, I sought out to build my own tribe right within my community: friends and neighbors. And now, I’m building Hello My Village so that others can have. benefit from it too. So we could all thrive and survive by building a sustainable community.”
In short, Hello My Village is a digital community that connects families who live in the same neighborhoods for support with childcare through a unique bartering system.
“You’re connected with neighbors or parents from your child’s school, based on core values and interests,” Babalola explained. “We have a form that is filled out when someone is onboarded. We’re trying to foster that community of togetherness and people can only trust others with their kids if they feel comfortable. I know I’m a very picky mom. I have an 8-year-old and those things are important to me and I’m sure it is important to other parents.”
Of course, when it comes to any childcare set-up, safety is paramount, which is why all enrollees are required to undergo a strict background check.
“Every parent that is signing up to the platform would need to undergo an extensive background check,” the tech visionary explained. “I’ve been working with Checkr to integrate their API to my platform. Additionally, parents play an active role in actually selecting members, so it’s not open. It’s not like you create a profile and the whole world can see. You actually get to cherry-pick members of your tribe that you might have connected with based on interests, core values, proximity, and parents in your kids’ school. So you actually get full control over that as a parent.”
The mission behind Hello My Village is simple:
“Hello My Village is a public benefit corporation on a mission to democratize child care through a unique barter system. Our vision is to create a world where parents kind of create a work-family-life harmony,” said Babalola. “We’re creating a digital ecosystem that enables parents to live in a more connected and sustainable way and that helps to improve and provide more affordable child care options. We als seek to reduce the guilt and awkwardness around asking others for help repeatedly.”
While the Hello My Village mobile app is not yet ready for download, the platform will be available for use by web browser later this fall — just in time for back-to-school. To learn more about Hello My Village and its impending release, click here and check them out on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.