Rathni is 27 years old and lives in Kanjariguda Village, Odisha, India. She is the primary carer of her 60-year old mother, Dev Jani, who is blind and has epilepsy. Dev Jani’s health began to deteriorate when Rathni was a child so Rathni was unable to go to school, and has not been able to marry due to her caring responsibilities. In more recent years, Rathni’s father has also become unwell and she cares for him too.

Two years ago, our project partner NGO WORD began working with Rathni and other carers in the area. Rathni received a small grant from the carers project which she invested in maize cultivation. The maize brings in a steady source of income for Rathni and her family.

The project has also linked Rathni, and 51 other carers in the area, to the Government’s Agriculture Department. Through this department, Rathni has received financial support to grow sugarcane and millet too. Other benefits the family have received since becoming involved with the project include an increase in Dev Jani’s pension; medication to control Dev Jani’s epilepsy; a toilet for the home; and they are now applying for housing through the Government.

As part of the project, WORD staff helped the carers establish Jhankerdevi Carers Group. Rathni is an active member and is currently its President. She really enjoys being a member of the group as she feels it is a great source of emotional support for carers and she has learned a lot about her rights. As the President of the group, she attends village council meetings with Government Officials where she advocates for the rights of herself and other carers, something she would never have dreamed of doing before joining the carers project.

We think that Rathni is an inspirational carer; caring for her mother, father and also serving as the President of her local carers group. The changes made to Rathni’s life would not have been possible without NGO WORD. If you would like to find out more about WORD, you can do so by visiting their website.