What motivated Anil Patil to establish Carers Worldwide?
As carers are amongst the most hidden members of society, you are probably wondering how we discovered that there was a need for an organization that recognises and responds to the challenges they face. Our journey began because of two significant life events experienced by Anil Patil the Founder and Executive Director of Carers Worldwide.
Anil spent 6 years working within the mental health and disability sectors in India. During the course of his work, Anil came into regular contact with people who were responsible for the care of their loved ones. It was clear to Anil that carers were proud to be caring for their loved one, but this was often to the detriment of their own lives. Over time he came to learn the true impact that caring had on their lives.
Carers would ask difficult questions that Anil was unable to answer including “If I died tomorrow, what will happen to my family member?”.
From this, a picture began to form about the extent of the problems facing carers in developing countries, because at that time there was no way to respond to that question.
The second key event in Anil’s life that led to the creation of Carers Worldwide was becoming a father to a daughter with Down’s Syndrome. Although being a father to his daughter provides immense joy and is a privilege that greatly enriches his life, becoming a carer has not been without its challenges. Anil and his wife Ruth are fortunate to have an excellent support network consisting of friends and family which ensures their caring responsibilities are manageable. Reflecting on his work in India, Anil could empathise with how difficult it must be for those carers who do not have any support in developing countries.
In 2011, Anil began researching the needs of carers in India and South Africa to see what effect caring had on their lives. He found that carers had no support and faced financial, emotional and physical health hardships as a consequence of their caring role. He also found that carers experienced little to no social contact. Through this understanding, Anil went on to devise a holistic approach to support carers, which became the ‘Carers Worldwide Model’ and remains at the very heart of our work today. The model consists of five core elements that ensure positive change for carers. These elements are carers’ support groups; health services; respite and short breaks; employment, training and education; and advocacy.
In the short time we have been operating, we have impacted the lives of more than 35,000 carers and their family members across India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
We serve as a catalyst to bring about systemic change in the work of governments, charities and other agencies so that they recognise and respond to the needs of carers in the developing world. Simultaneously we facilitate the provision of support for individual carers and their families in the developing world, bringing them better health, wellbeing and economic security.
Our mission is being achieved by partnering with highly respected NGOs in developing countries to deliver programmes to carers and at the same time advocate with policymakers to ensure long-term systemic change. And by 2019, our strategic goals will see us build on our existing success by working with 12 delivery organizations in 4 countries in the South Asia region reaching a total of 100,000 carers and their family members. This will take us a step closer to creating a world where the needs of every carer is met.
With more carers identified every day who need our support, we must not delay in achieving our goals.