Gauri is 60 years old and is the primary carer of her daughter, Budri who is 29 years old and has schizophrenia. They live in a remote tribal area of Odisha, eastern India with Budri’s father, 69 year old Damo.
Budri first started showing symptoms of mental illness when she was just 13 years of age. Due to the myths and superstitious attitudes about mental health that were prevalent in their village, Gauri and Damo did not take Budri to hospital but sought out local healers, unfortunately to no effect.
As time went on, Budri would spend most of the day sleeping and would not want to eat or drink. Sometimes, she would run away from home and her parents would find her in another village. Her mother, Gauri, would help Budri with daily tasks such as washing and dressing. Gauri found it challenging to manage other household responsibilities alongside caring for Budri.
Carers Worldwide partnered with local organisation SPREAD in 2017 and Gauri’s was one of the first families identified. They supported Budri in accessing medical care where she received a formal diagnosis for her condition and was given medication which she continues to take to this day. The medicine has made a huge difference to Budri’s condition, enabling her to engage in daily life.
Gauri was encouraged by SPREAD to join her local carers group which was set up as part of our project. As part of the group, she attended training on livelihoods and income generation. As a result of this training, she was made aware of a Government scheme available to provide her with a loan to invest in a livelihood opportunity. With this support, Gauri was able to establish a vegetable cultivation plot and she now sells vegetables in the market. This venture is providing steady income to support the family. As Budri’s condition has been stabilized, she too is able to assist with the vegetable cultivation and the family are working well as a team.
During the current Covid-19 pandemic Gauri and her family have received vital support from the Government and SPREAD. They have been provided with food packages, face masks and hand sanitiser, as well as cash transfers. As well as this, because lock down has made it difficult for Budri to reach the primary health centre to collect her medication, staff from SPREAD have liaised with doctors to be able to collect her medicines and deliver them to family’s doorstep.
“Before the project, I was completely unaware of the benefits and support available to Budri, my husband, and I,” said Gauri. “I am very happy with the support I have received from Carers Worldwide and the SPREAD team. We would have struggled to cope during COVID19 without them.”