#HumansCare | Popy’s Story
Popy is the sole carer for her daughter Munira, who has Cerebral Palsy. Popy and Munira live in in the neighbourhood of Taltola, just outside Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Our local charity partner in Bangladesh, Centre for Disability in Development (CDD), visited her home to let her know about their work supporting unpaid family carers. She wasn’t familiar with the term ‘unpaid carer’ and her first response was “Everyone wants to know about my daughter, why do you want to know about me?” After she had been told more about the concept of unpaid carers and how CDD are supporting them through their work with us, she said “I feel very valuable today”.
When Munira was born and Popy’s friends and family realised that she had Cerebral Palsy, they could not accept her as part of the family and they turned their backs on her and Popy. As a result of this isolation from her family, Popy’s mental health deteriorated. She also struggled financially and could not arrange any treatment for her daughter or afford good, nutritious food for them both.
After hearing about our work and learning that there were other people out there in the same situation as her, Popy joined her local Carers Group and she is now an active member, encouraging others to attend and playing a part in arranging the meetings for the group.
“When I understood that my daughter couldn’t live a normal life I was emotionally broken. No one in my family supported me. But when I joined the Carers Group my eyes started to see a dream for my daughter. Now I believe that my daughter also can work in the future. I have learnt a sentence from my Carers Group: ‘If I can run with my daughter, my daughter can walk.’” – Popy
She also took advantage of our livelihood training, receiving training on how to set up and run a small clothing business, and taking out a small loan from the Carers Group to make it a reality.
She was able to return the loan to the group for them to pass onto the next carer and made a success of the business. She now dreams of one day owning her own shop.
Popy has had issues with her health and during the Covid pandemic was not able to get treatment. CDD were able to help her get treatment and medicine prescribed over the phone as part of their telemedicine project. As a result of caring for her daughter she had many aches and pains and so when the physiotherapist visits her local Community Caring Centre, she is able to have an appointment and feels much better for it.
Since being identified as an unpaid family carer by CDD, Popy has also fought for what she and her daughter are entitled to. She went to her local social service office to claim Munira’s Golden Citizen (disability identification) card which means Munira is now entitled to receive disability allowance and other benefits from the government, something Popy wasn’t aware of previously.
As you can see, CDD have been helping Popy using our Carers Worldwide Model, comprising of five core elements which together transform the holistic wellbeing of carers.
“The carers’ project has advanced my respect, health, financial situation, and social situation in all aspects. I would not have understood if I had not been included in the carers project, that I am also a human being and I have the right to live a normal life.” – Popy
There are so many unpaid carers like Popy in low- and middle-income countries who need our support. If you would like to help us in our work, then please do consider giving a gift or help to spread the word of what we do by sharing the impact we make with your friends and family.
We’d like to leave you with the words of one of Popy’s neighbours talking about how their perception of Popy and Munira has changed since CDD become involved in their lives, and also from a staff member from CDD and their experience of working with Popy.
“We used to think that Popy’s child is a result of her sin. But when Apa from CDD’s carers project came and talked to Popy, we also listened very attentively. It made us realise that disability is not a sin. We love Popy and her daughter Munira very much. May Popy and her daughter go far.” – Popy’s neighbour
“Popy is a very sweet spoken person. She has gone through many difficult times in her life, so she didn’t want to trust people easily. I had to work hard to build a rapport with her, but slowly she and her family understood why I visited them. She was very surprised when I visited her home, she thought that nobody liked her and her daughter. I was very surprised when she said to me “Until today no one has called my daughter by her name. You called her by her first name.”
As a result of the home visit, the attitude of the people around her changed a lot. Due to which her life has become much easier. Her relationship with the other members of her Carers Group has also strengthened. They help her with any problem and Popy now realises that she is not the only soldier in this war. She has more companions on her journey.
I have learned a lot from Popy and other carers we work with. Their lives teach us a lot and give us a lot of strength. I have seen such a difference in Popy since I started working with her. Now she talks openly and smiles. It’s a wonderful feeling.” – Farah Omor, Community Facilitator, CDD