Caring is not a role exclusively for adults. In India and Nepal, our research found that 9% of carers were aged 17 and under, but we believe the true proportion of child carers is much higher.
Young carers are the most hidden type of carers, with many communities unaware that people of such an age provide care, making it extremely difficult to quantify exactly how many child carers there are.
Providing care as a child is a daunting task.
It requires cooking, cleaning and providing emotional and physical assistance at an age where other children still have these tasks done for them by their parents. On top of that, being a carer at a young age can be detrimental to the development of the child providing the care.
Many young carers are unable to go to school and miss out on education, not just in an academic sense, but also on how to engage and interact in social settings. This lack of education means young carers are less likely to attain the knowledge and skills required to thrive during adulthood.
As a child, Priya* from India became the sole carer of her father who was paralysed in an accident.
Priya’s mother left the family home shortly after the accident as she was unable to cope with the situation, leaving Priya to perform the caring duties.
Overnight, Priya became responsible for looking after her father and running the household. She subsequently dropped out of school and had no social life, which led her to become isolated and withdrawn.
After partnering with Carers Worldwide, a local NGO became aware of Priya’s situation and put support in place to enable her to return to school and look after her father when she was not at school.
Although she still has caring responsibilities, being able to attend school means Priya has hope and a chance of a future which she previously did not have.
At Carers Worldwide, we aim to work with local partners to identify more of the hidden young carers in low and middle income countries and enable them to regain as much of their childhood as we possibly can.
To do this, we need to research the extent of the problem and then work closely with communities and schools to find the support that young carers desperately need.
£50 a year helps to:
- enable one child to attend private tuition that works around their caring duties
- pay for all the books and stationary they need for their studies
- provide opportunities for them to meet up with other young carers.
If you could help support a child like Priya to have education and give them back their childhood, please donate today.
* name and images may be changed to ensure anonymity