For our final #HumansCare story of 2020 we spoke to K.M. Geethamrutha, the Vice-President of our partner organisation Margadarshi to discuss her involvement in our carers project in Chamarajanagar district, Karnataka, India. She told us this:
Q: What specific role do you play in supporting carers?
I am responsible for helping to identify solutions, guidelines and opportunities to resolve the challenges facing carers in Chamarajanagar district. An example of this includes working towards establishing an alternative care system which would give carers regular respite from their caregiving duties.
Q: Why do you think it important that carers receive the support that they need?
Nobody in our society really understands the issues that carers face. Carers are secretly becoming exhausted and depressed because of their continuous caring responsibilities that often last months and years. To end this risk of burnout it is essential that there is recognition of carers and that support is available for them.
Q: What changes do you see in carers lives when they have the support they need?
Cares who are being supporting are already feeling less stressed and the pain they have been carrying inside of them is starting to be released. As carers are starting to open up and showing enthusiasm about change, this is enabling us to plan longer-term activities which will promote long-term sustainable change for carers.
Q: What impact has COVID-19 had on carers? How are you supporting carers during COVID-19?
COVID-19 has created a scarcity of medicine and food which has severely impacted carers and their families. We have taken several steps to protect carers during this time which have included: helping families to get monetary support, medicines and food kits through Government schemes; guiding carers to enrol in the MGNREGA scheme so that their household can access a guaranteed number of day’s labour; and identifying carers to stitch masks as part of the Kit4Carers project which has provided an income for their families and generated PPE for frontline workers in Karnataka state.
Q: What is your hope for the future for the carers you support?
I would ultimately like to see rules and regulations being put in place by the Government and local authorities to guarantee the rights of carers and to meet their needs. I am hopeful that we will be able to achieve this by continuing to organise carers in to groups and by strengthening their advocacy skills.
We are sure K.M. Geethamrutha and her team will be successful in continuing to move forward the carers’ issue in Chamarajanagar in 2021.
Have you enjoyed our 2020 #HumansCare stories? What kind of stories would you like to hear more of? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.