For carers like Budri, support from SPREAD, one of our local partners working with marginalised tribal communities in Odisha, eastern India, could not come too soon. Her husband Lachhaman lost the use of one leg in a seemingly simple slip whilst walking. Budri has also lost her son, leaving only her and her daughter-in-law to look after her husband and three grandchildren. As her daughter-in-law has to earn a living for the whole family, all the caring responsibilities fall to Budri. When Siân and Alastair, two of our Carers Worldwide trustees, met her on their recent visit to India, they saw clearly in her face the weight of this commitment and the gruelling harshness of poverty.
Budri has not had the time or the energy to get much involved in other community groups, with all her family responsibilities. But using the Carers Worldwide model, SPREAD identified Budri along with all the other carers in the surrounding villages and set up a Carers Group which specifically tackles her needs. Support cannot come quickly enough but with SPREAD’s help, the group are in the process of lobbying for the full disability pension for Budri’s husband and to get educational scholarships which will enable her grandchildren to go to school. SPREAD have also linked up with another NGO who provides mobility appliances to bring a clinic to the area, so that Lachhaman can get something to make getting around – even if just in the house – easier and so ease the physical burden on Budri. She makes time to turn up to the Carers Group as she can share her troubles with others who have similar problems. They are also talking about how they might set up a system to help each other with caring responsibilities – not easy as they are very spread out, but the conversations have started and it seems as if, finally, someone cares about her.
Siân and Alastair will be writing more about their trip and observations on the impact of our work on the ground in India. Follow us on on Facebook to keep up to date.