Empowering Carers – Carers Worldwide Trustee Visits our Work in India
One of our trustees, and Chair of our Fundraising Committee, Maria Andrews, recently visited India to see the work that we do for herself. She was there for Carers Day, so was able to take part in the celebrations during her visit. We have asked her to reflect on her trip and share her thoughts with us…
“When you arrive in Bangalore you are not quite prepared for the cacophony of motor vehicle horns - it’s the way drivers tell each other they are passing by. And when crossing the roads, you just have to go with the flow of people and hope for the best!
Once you embrace that it’s organised chaos in comparison to the systems we are used to, everyone gets to where they need to be and crazy bumper to bumper traffic becomes the norm.
So, our first trip was to one of Carers Worldwide’s local charity partners, Margadarshi, to visit some of the carers support groups in the area and learn how vocational training is giving the carers a sustainable and better lifestyle.”
“Before joining these groups with their regular meetings and saving accounts, these women were isolated and alone. Coming together has given them friendships, support and confidence. They have a stronger belief in themselves, that they can improve their situation even with the responsibilities of caring for family members with a mental health issue or physical disability. These women were brave and courageous in sharing their stories of how their communities excluded them because they had a family member who was disabled. Now the women meet regularly in their groups to share their challenges, learning from each other how to manage small businesses, build up savings and become self-sufficient.”
“During my journey to meet other carers support groups in rural and urban districts there was a constant theme of ‘girl-power’ because women were supporting women. It was powerful to witness, and I was touched by how they embraced me to share their heart-felt stories, giving me feelings of encouragement, that Carers Worldwide is making a difference in their lives by giving these carers opportunities to improve themselves, their families, and their livelihoods.”
“We took an overnight train trip to Tiruvallur, in Tamil Nadu state, to join the Carers Day celebration on the 19th October with the team from Vasantham Federation, another of Carers Worldwide’s charity partners. Vasantham Federation has a strong ethos of an equitable world where the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities are realised, and they are able to fully and effectively participate in society.”
“The rally through the busy streets gave everyone a sense of achievement and belonging as we arrived at the community centre to hear speeches by dignitaries and carers, awards were given to acknowledge achievements and there was singing and dancing, to celebrate the progress they are making within their communities.”
“A visit to Shristi Special Academy (SSA) in Bangalore showed me how young people and their carers are being empowered through access to rehabilitation services to promote maximum independence and confidence for the young people, and vocational skills training to support the carers. This support aids acceptance and participation of people with disabilities into society and gives them the opportunities to fulfil their potential.”
“A final achievement during our trip was to meet Mr. Das Suryawanshi, Karnataka state commissioner for people with disabilities. He is working hard to improve the attitudes of businesses and communities to involve all of society and reduce discrimination.
A theme from all my encounters was how Carers Worldwide and our partners are giving back people’s dignity and self-belief, empowering them to lead better lives.
Working together, we are creating a profound impact on the lives of carers, their families, and communities.
Your support helps to make this happen, so whatever you can afford, please make a donation to Carers Worldwide and help us continue to Commit to Carers. Thank you.”