Many carers are tied to their house due to their caring responsibilities and are unable to attend work or school or even socialise within the community. The result is that many carers end up living in poverty and isolation, which impacts their physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing. This ultimately diminishes their ability to deliver effective care to their loved ones.
It’s a vicious cycle and sadly is reported by the majority of the carers that we work with in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The lack of income can devastate families and when the cost of medicines, therapy and medical care is added in, little is left for food and other essential living costs.
Livelihoods and income-generation opportunities can go a long way to help, however it can be challenging to find options that can co-exist with caring responsibilities. For many of the carers, support from family or the local community is non-existent, so we knew that an alternative needed to be found if we were to empower them to get back to earning a living again.
To address this issue, we have initiated the creation of Community Caring Centres through our work with local partners in India and Nepal. In total we have established ten centres which offer quality, alternative care for children so that carers can engage in the workforce, come together as a support network and overcome the loneliness that they experience. The centres also provide a respite opportunity to carers, with volunteers specially trained to support the complex needs that their children have. This gives carers the confidence that they need to leave their child – often for the first time.
Similarly, for the disabled children of these carers, attendance at a Community Caring Centre reduces their social isolation and gives them a place where they can have meaningful interactions, enjoy educational activities and access physical and psychological therapy. Due to this early intervention and enrichment support we have seen significant improvements in the social, emotional and physical wellbeing of these children. With many of the centres connected with local schools, the pathway for children to enter mainstream education is also strengthened and their chances of inclusion increased. Ultimately, these combined efforts reduce the burden of care for carers and improve the quality of life of their loved ones.
The demand for this important lifeline for carers and their children is rapidly increasing across our work. Designed with sustainability in mind, our aim is to establish Community Caring Centres as permanent resources in all communities in which we work.
With your support we can work towards impacting the future generation of carers and disabled children by upscaling the model.
Please visit our donation page to find out how you can help.