In the #HumansCare spotlight this week is Luni Shakya, the ‘Care for Carers’ Programme Manager at SGCP based in Nepal. Luni took the time to answer the following questions about her work with carers…

Can you describe your role and the ways in which your work supports carers?

I am the manager of the ‘Care for Carers’ programme based in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. The purpose of the programme is to empower the carers of persons living with neurological disorders, particularly those with Cerebral Palsy. Since the launch of this programme I have been assisting carers through implementing the Carers Worldwide Model that consists of five core elements: carers’ support groups; health services including disaster preparedness; respite and short breaks; employment/training opportunities; and advocacy. In this role I also encourage carers to be active in making their communities aware of the roles and rights of carers.

Why do you believe it is important for carers in your region to have access to support and services?

Carers in my region need assistance because they provide continual support for their loved ones which often leaves them emotionally and physically exhausted. It is essential that all informal carers who are invisible are identified and that their individual needs are assessed so suitable measures can be put in place to protect their health and economic wellbeing. It is also important for carers to be supported in advocacy so they can have their rights recognised within official policy.

Can you tell us about any changes that have been made to the lives of carers that you support?

One noticeable change is that carers are beginning to recognize the importance of their own work and the value of their role within society. In addition to this, the establishment of carer self-help groups have provided forums for carers to share their issues and realise that they are not alone in their situation. Carers in the programme have also been able to access health and counselling services which has improved their wellbeing. Several carers are now also taking part in livelihood activities that generate a financial income and this has helped develop their self-esteem and confidence levels.

Do you have any hopes for the future of carers that you support?

The future of carers is looking brighter because they are starting to be recognized for their role and responsibilities. Carers themselves are actively involved in their empowerment process and are currently establishing a ‘Carers Association’ from which they will campaign for their rights to be recognised within official policy.

Is there anything else about your work with carers that you would like us to know?

I am very grateful to be part of the movement that seeks to empower carers. My role in this field brings me great joy and I look forward to taking on any upcoming challenges that arise within this movement.

We send our thanks to Luni for the effort and enthusiasm she dedicates to the ‘Care for Carers’ programme. If you are interested in learning more about the work of SGCP you can check out their Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.