This week is Carers Week in the UK and the theme this year is Making Caring Visible and Valued.
This is such an important week as it aims to “raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.” We are very lucky in the UK to have campaigns such as this one that strive to put the role of unpaid caring, and the carers that dedicate their lives to it, in the spotlight.
Unfortunately, in many low and middle income countries around the world, this recognition does not exist and unpaid family carers are left to care for their loved ones alone, with no emotional or financial support.
At Carers Worldwide we promote recognition of unpaid family carers and draw attention to their needs amongst communities; (I)NGOs; service providers; academics; the corporate sector; and local and national Governments across India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Being a small charity, we are very nimble and able to act quickly, and we are pleased to announce that our work over the past two weeks has been successful in working towards Making Caring Visible and Valued in Karnataka state, India.
In just a two-week period, in collaboration with the state legal authority in Karnataka, we have ensured that all people with disabilities over 18 in the state and carers of those people, plus carers of children with disabilities, are prioritised for the COVID 19 vaccine. So far, 85,000 have been vaccinated through this prioritisation.
The representatives of the state legal authority (known as Member Secretaries) at district level are fully engaged and supportive and through village level rehabilitation workers, people with disabilities are identified along with their carers, and given priority for the vaccine. We have also been working closely on this with the Disability Directorate and the Disability Commissioner in Karnataka, as well as with Disability NGOs Alliance (DNA) and Enable India.
This kind of work falls into the Advocacy element of our five-point Carers Worldwide Model and it is such a vital part of our work to ensure the holistic wellbeing of unpaid family carers.
We are fully behind Carers Week and the message of raising awareness of unpaid family carers, highlighting the challenges they face and recognising the contributions they make across the UK and globally.