NKS CARE FOR CARERS’ PROJECT
This project was for carers to help them in their role as a carer and to help them to influence the policy debate around carers. The aim of this project was to work closely with South Asian female carers to empower and build resilience among them through advice, knowledge, information and personal development activities.
NKS sought to work closely with South Asian female carers who were isolated and disadvantaged due to many barriers faced by them, and empower as well as build resilience among them. The project aimed to mitigate their experiences of negative physical and mental health. We reached out to hidden and isolated South Asian female carers of children as well as young people with special needs, and to carers of people with long term health conditions. These carers included; mostly unpaid, but paid too, with generally caring roles defined by cultural and gender norms that are so embedded in South Asian communities.
NKS gave isolated South Asian female carers a platform to come together and share information and collectively address those issues that led to barriers for them to improve quality of life, and to influence policy debates at a strategic level. The platform was in the form of carers forum, programme of activities in group settings and one to one support where needed to help them recognise their strengths and use these to make life changes and become more resilient. The activities were aimed at South Asian female carers – paid and unpaid of children, young people and adults who were isolated due to numerous barriers and had little support in the community. The barriers faced by them may relate to lack of information, cultural and gender issues and language barriers.
Through one to one support we helped carers to manage their caring role within the cultural and religious boundaries. One to one support was offered in the area of accessing services, income maximisation, personal needs and development, carers break within acceptable boundaries, building positive relationships within their families, their rights and legal implications for the whole family, support with finding a direction in the way of work, studying, joining English classes or volunteering.
Through programme of activities in group settings around health and well-being, increased social bonding opportunities, information about rights and legal issues, and educational workshops to enable informal learning, and raising physical and mental health status, the carers worked towards improving their quality of life.
One of the crucial contribution of the project was forming a Carers Forum that provided group advocacy opportunities to South Asian female carers; especially unpaid carers experiencing barriers related to race and gender. The forum provided opportunities to share information about the gaps and issues for female carers bringing service providers and carers on one platform to influence policy debate.