In 2012, we started working in India with 250 carers of relatives living with a disability or mental illness. By the end of 2017, our work in India had expanded to over 5,500 carers and 22,000 family members.
Today we remain focused on the carers of those living with a disability or mental illness, but also consider our work in India ready to expand to other sectors including the elderly, chronically ill and those living with HIV or AIDS.
SAMUHA an organisation working with vulnerable people in Karnataka was one of the first Carers Worldwide partners. Together we have learned a lot about the process of supporting carers, families and communities.
We recently spoke with Banakar Hampanna the Deputy Director of SAMUHA Samarthya in Karnataka about his role to improve the lives of carers and their families so far.
This is what Hampanna he told us:
What specific role do you play in supporting carers? And what do you like best about this role?
Hampanna: I explore carers needs and issues and draw attention to these with policy makers, identifying the gaps in policies and practice that need to be addressed. I enjoy this role because of the impact I can have on long term change and sustainability in Karnataka.
Why do you think it important that carers receive the support that they need?
Hampanna: It is extremely important because they deserve equality and to be included in the community, which wasn’t the case before.
What changes do you see in carers lives when they have the support they need?
Hampanna: They have a much better quality of life and they are active and equal community members.
Tell us about a carer that stands out to you. What was their life like before they joined the programme and how has it changed?
Hampanna: I can think of many and all of them were isolated and alone. After joining the carer programme they are empowered, managing much better than before and together we are tackling their challenges.
How did it make you feel to be part of that change and see that carers life change for the better?
Hampanna: I feel very happy to be part of the programme working to bring carers in to mainstream society and working towards an environment of inclusiveness for all carers.
What is your hope for the future for the carers you support?
Hampanna: That we can continue to work together with carers so that they can progress the carer issue and be recognized within the broader development agenda.
Would you like to tell us anything else that you feel that you would like us to know?
Hampanna: Yes, I would like to express the difference it has made to the community to establish a network of carers self-help groups and a Carers Association. This has improved the lives of many carers and will continue to facilitate positive change for carers into the future.
We look forward to working with Hampanna and the rest of the team at SAMUHA for many years to come.
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