By Esther Barfoot

About three weeks ago I was feeling really scared. Friends were sharing video’s and articles about the COVID-19 situation in Italy. They described the mayhem in the hospitals and the complete unknown they had landed in.

The videos and articles described the mayhem in the hospitals and the complete unknown they had landed in. And after having gone from being at a meeting of thirty on Thursday to complete social distancing on Saturday, I was downright fearful by Sunday. Then, I stumbled on the videos of Italian neighbours singing together, each from their own balcony. I was deeply moved.

I realised: we are separated and circumstances are scary, sad and pretty grim, but we can still be together and lift our spirits. We can be apart and yet be creative together and intimately connected. Then, when I also started seeing people on Twitter offering to cook or to do grocery shopping for others, I knew: this is how we build resilience. And I jumped into action. These gestures of connection, these people standing up, communities rising, the help, the cooperation, the creativity and inspiration, I decided to collect them on Facebook and share them. I connected with a bunch of friends and we took off..

Illustration: Rogier Rosema

Bram van Oosten let me use his creative photo material as a basis for the design. (By the way, this material is also the basis for the design of this website.) In a few hours’ time Rogier Rosema, agreat designer I often work with (and whose agency has also designed this website). My friends Hidde Visser, Paula Zwitser, Odette van Zijdveld and I formed an editorial team. Later that day Sigrid van Iersel and Marjolijn van Eijsden joined us. En within a few hours time we set up the FB page Love in the Time of Corona. Kindness + creativity + inspiration = resilience. And within the first 24 hours we had 200 followers. Meanwhile we have almost 500.

I knew: this is how we build resilience.

Meanwhile, the examples of community spirit and creativity are so abundant, with the FB page we can only scratch the surface. However, we will continue to collect and share as many as we can. Because we still want to uncover and share all these beautiful examples. As a kind of journalistic documentation, as a source to inspire people and initiatives across the world. As a kind of thank you to all these people. As a spark of joy or hope in difficult days.


For us it is fascinating and beautiful to witness this rise in community spirit, it gives us joy and helps to keep us sane. And personally, it makes me optimistic about our future, after Corona.

Illustration: Rogier Rosema