We recently met
She told us that for many of the group members, decades of caring meant that they had become almost invisible. Not only to society but also to themselves.
“Carers are so focused on the people that they are looking after that they don’t think about themselves. Their health suffers, they become depressed and they lose their place in society.’ she told us.
Unlike some of the carers, Padma has been able to juggle the responsibilities of caring with employment in a local government office. This is a lifeline for the carers group as she brings her knowledge of navigating the confusing government systems to help others to access vital support and assistance. She attends official meetings with the other members if they are experiencing challenges in having their voices heard, ensuring that the collective needs of carers in her group are recognised.
“Finally we feel listened to. We all help each other and offer support to those that are struggling. We go to the government together…demand to be heard and try to get the right funding for the people not being properly supported.”
Since 2015, the group has evolved into a tightknit community who are invested in each other’s lives. When the son of one woman died of complications linked to cerebral palsy, the rest of the group stepped in to help. With funds from the group savings, they paid for his funeral and gave her the support that she needed at such a difficult time.
Without them, she had nowhere else to turn. Soon she will become a livelihoods trainer, helping other carers who are in the position that she once was.
“How could we not have supported her. She needed us more then than ever before. She will always be part of our community.” says Padma.