Skip to main content

Balancing Act: Launch of International Research Project to Review Support for People with Disabilities and their Families

Published: 26 March 2024
Updated: 03 April 2024
Launch of International Research Project

Carers Worldwide, alongside our local charity partner in Bangladesh, has been selected as one of six case studies globally in a new research project, being led by Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

The project, ‘Balancing Act: Learning from global examples of effective community support for people with disabilities’, will look at the balance between ‘formal’ (such as government assistance or paid providers) and ‘natural’ (such as family and peer support networks) support for people with disabilities and their families, in six different locations around the world.

balancing chart

Globally, people with disabilities and their families often do not receive adequate support to enable them to fully participate in their communities, or they experience an imbalance between ‘formal’ and ‘natural’ supports that does not address their individual or family needs. The overall goal of this partnership project is to examine people’s experiences in selected organisations in different countries, to understand how disability-related supports might best be balanced, so that naturally existing resources from the community are valued, while being supplemented appropriately with formal resources as needed.

The project will explore how different types of support are provided and received in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Mozambique, the United Kingdom and the United States. The six case studies will demonstrate various experiences of natural support working together with formal support for families, looking at both the providers’ and receivers’ perspectives of different types of support.

What can be done with this information?

  • Equip families, people with disabilities and their allies with evidence for advocacy
  • Inform policy makers and service providers about the importance of balancing different types of support 
  • Promote an appreciative, strengths-based perspective on family and community support 

Our Development Director, Ruth Patil visited our charity partner in Bangladesh, Centre for Disability in Development (CDD), along with Reshma Nuri, one of the researchers from Queen’s University, for the launch of the Bangladesh case study in February. This event was a chance for participants, including people with disabilities, unpaid carers and formal support providers, to come together to learn about the project. 

“We are delighted to be taking part in this international research project along with our implementing partner in Bangladesh, the Centre for Disability in Development. We are looking forward to finding out more about the types of support the family carers that we work with in Bangladesh value for themselves and for their disabled relatives, and what more support they would benefit from.

We are also excited to learn from the other organisations involved in the research project about the situation in their countries, and to be able to share ideas. In this way, we will be able to work together to improve the lives of those living with disabilities and their families wherever they are in the world.”

Ruth Patil, Development Director

Kulsum, an unpaid carer we support through our work with CDD told us

“I am ready to take any initiative for carers and persons with disabilities. I request you please join us and support us.”

A.H.M. Noman Khan, Executive Director of CDD said of the project:

“This project will enable us to gain evidence on what works best for disabled people and carers...This will bring positive change for everyone."