Earlier this month it was Carers Week in the UK and the theme this year was Make Caring Visible and Valued.
Promoting recognition of unpaid family carers and respect for what they do is at the heart of our work. We spoke to six carers from Nepal and Bangladesh and asked them what has changed for them since they began working with our partner organisations in their countries, whether they feel that their role as a carer is valued by society and how being part of our Cares Support Groups have made them feel.
Here are their responses…
Jesmin, from Bangladesh
“I take care of all of my family members, including the special care needed for my family member with disabilities. But I feel as if everybody in the family thinks I am not contributing. As a carer it is painful for me. Now I feel valued and part of the decision making in the family as a result of Carers activities in our community, recognising us and what we do. I am now also a leader of the Carers Support Group in my community.”
Lolita, from Bangladesh
“Caring for my daughter who has an intellectual disability, I was totally isolated from my community. Now I am visible due to being an active member of a Carers Group in my community. I am earning and contributing to my family. As well as that I have acceptance from the community – they believe that carers are an important resource in the country. Two years back this was totally absent. Thanks to CDD and Carers Worldwide for introducing such a lovely programme to the community.”
China, from Bangladesh
“I used to be depressed and have a lot of anxiety. This has changed now due to having access to the Community Caring Centre. It is a vital part of my life, where we spend quality time. Now I see my son smiling because he is now seeing me always smiling.”
Jbida, from Bangladesh
“Being a part of activities with other carers in my community has changed our life at 3 levels. Now I am part of a family and community. I am able to earn. My depression and anxiety due to my caring responsibility is now reducing.
Besides that, every day we are waiting to visit our Community Caring Centre with my daughter who has disabilities. Otherwise, our day is incomplete!”
Rajendra, from Nepal
“When I came to know my daughter was disabled I felt so sad. During the process of treatment and rehabilitation, I met with a lot of families whose children are disabled. It helped me to realise I was not alone. Later I got the opportunity to participate in a Carers Group through the ‘Care for Carers’ programme. It provided a forum to ‘share our pain and gain’ together with fellow carers. I also became a member of the Carers Association.
SGCP, Nepal is continually providing medical and rehabilitation services to my daughter and as a carer of a disabled child I got opportunities to participate in various training sessions which helped to build my capacity.
SGCP, Nepal also helped us to raise issues important to carers and take them forward to the policy level.
We are able to have a voice in different levels of Government but still I feel the Government is not hearing our voice. Even at the local level people don’t really understand what a carer is. Therefore, firstly we have to present our identity. We have to believe that our role and responsibilities will be understood and our voices will be heard by the Government.”
Shakti, from Nepal
“Once I joined the Carers Support Group, it made me happy and I realised I have more responsibilities. Since SGCP, Nepal has been working on carers issues – the change has been drastic because carers have gained so much confidence. They became more self-reliant and improved their self-esteem. As a chairperson of the Carers Association, I feel that the role of carers has become more valued over time. Due to our effort, slowly our voice is being recognised by the Government, even though carers’ issues are still not a priority for the Government.”
If you’d like to help us in our work to make more unpaid family carers in South Asia feel visible and valued, then you can donate here. Thank you.