The staff of our partner organisation, Centre for Disability in Development (CDD), collecting baseline survey data from carers.
We are excited to announce that we have recently launched a new three-year project that will transform the wellbeing of 1,002 carers in Savar sub-district on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh. This project has been made possible as a result of generous support from the CareTech Foundation and Rangoonwala Foundation.
With the aim of upscaling and expanding a successfully tested approach to support unpaid family carers in Savar, Bangladesh the project will build on our existing work with 502 carers in Savar whilst extending our reach to include 500 additional carers in the region. This latest project is designed to build on our successful UK Aid funded pilot project and address the social, mental, physical and economic challenges facing the 1,002 carers.
A carer from our pilot project, who we will continue to support in our new project, said:
“We have learned how we can look after our mental health. We are not alone, someone at the top is thinking about us. We can earn and support our families.”
Using match-funded grants of £94,027 awarded by the CareTech Foundation and the Rangoonwala Foundation (£188,054 in total over three years), our project will implement all five elements of our Carers Worldwide Model:
- Carers Groups: We will continue our 25 existing local-level Carers Groups and set up 25 new groups so carers can form friendships whilst providing emotional support and practical advice to one another
- Health Services: We will train barefoot counsellors to address the emotional and mental health needs of carers; hold health camps to address the health needs of carers and those they care for; and sensitise public health workers and our partner staff to promote the health and wellbeing of carers
- Education, Livelihood and Training: We will enable 425 carers to launch their own income-generating activities which can coincide with caring responsibilities and help to lift households out of poverty
- Respite & Short Breaks: We will operate 4 Community Caring Centres which will provide alternative day care solutions for up to 60 children with disabilities and give their carers an opportunity for a break from caring
- Advocacy: We will form advocacy groups, including the first National Alliance of Carers in Bangladesh, and train members to advocate on behalf of carers and their families. We will also hold a series of workshops and seminars to raise awareness of the carers’ issue among the wider community
This project will be particularly welcomed by carers in Savar as part of the COVID-19 recovery phase. During COVID-19, among the 502 carers we were working with through our pilot work, we found that 90% of carers in Savar reported an increase in stress and anxiety, and that 100% reported a reduction in household income.
Anil Patil, Founder and Executive Director of Carers Worldwide said:
“After successfully demonstrating through our pilot work that our approach can be implemented within Bangladesh, I am delighted to have the opportunity to further strengthen our impact through this latest project. The launch of this project comes at a critical time. Carers and their families have been particularly hard-hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and this project gives us an opportunity to create a fairer society for carers as part of the COVID-19 recovery. I would like to thank CareTech Foundation and Rangoonwala Foundation for recognising the importance of carers and the need to support carers.”
By the end of our project, we expect that our project activities will result in the following changes for carers and their families:
- 85% of carers regularly attending local-level carers group meetings and receiving practical and emotional support
- 75% of households living above the poverty line
- 70% of carers reporting improved physical and/or mental health
- 40% of carers expressing confidence to advocate for their needs with Government representatives
Tariq Raja, Foundation Manager at CareTech Foundation said:
“We are happy to play a part in the next phase of this already successful programme that will help carers in the community in Savar. Support for unpaid carers is desperately needed around the world and should be prioritised and implemented into all global development initiatives. Programme models like this do just that, give carers the social, mental, physical and economic support they need to live their own independent lives and thrive in their local communities, in addition to being carers.”
Meheen Rangoonwala, Global Programme Manager at Rangoonwala Foundation, said:
“Our Foundation is excited to be working with Carers Worldwide on this much-needed project. Although carers play a vital role in supporting others, their own needs are too often overlooked. This project has been carefully designed to improve the holistic wellbeing of carers in Savar and to boost awareness within communities on the importance of supporting and protecting carers.”