Changing the lives of carers

Carers group meeting at Prajapathi nagar
Carers group meeting at Prajapathi nagar

Founder and executive director Anil Patil shares how Carers Worldwide has been changing the lives of carers in South Asia for the better over the past 10 years.

Founding and growing Carers Worldwide has been a labour of love for Patil, who came up with the idea of starting the organisation in 2012 after witnessing how neglected family carers were in rural India.

“Family members were asking me ‘what happens if I die tomorrow?’ ‘Who is going to look after my loved one?’ It hit me so hard,” Patil explained.

“I didn’t really appreciate how much stress they were under. Nine out of ten carers suffer from anxiety and depression, with the same proportion having health issues and financial problems.

Patil assumed other organisations were looking after the specific needs of carers, but after travelling extensively across India and South Africa, talking to a range of service providers and charities, he found this was not the case.

“I approached various organisations working with family carers in the UK after completing my research and asked them: ‘Is this something you want to do?’ They all said there is so much to be done in this country we do not have the resources to expand internationally. I thought, I need to do something about it.”

Having started with just 250 carers 10 years ago, Carers Worldwide has grown exponentially to now being able to transform the lives of more than 120,000 unpaid carers and family members in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

“We act as a catalyst by promoting recognition of unpaid family carers and drawing attention to their needs,” Patil told us.

“We do this at all levels with families, communities, local, national and international NGOs, service providers, academics, the corporate sector and local and national governments.

We also interact with other carer organisations on a global scale to promote a global change for carers.”

Carers Worldwide is the only organisation seeking to bring about systemic change to the lives of carers in South Asia by creating emotional support groups, access to health services, locally available counselling, short break/ respite facilities, and access to sustainable livelihoods.

“Our strategic vision is to impact the lives of 10 million carers in South Asia by the end of 2030 through direct intervention and policy change,” Patil said.

“We have seen amazing results. We have given people a purpose who were previously thinking of suicide.”

When Patil began, only 30% of carers had a regular income. Now 81% of the carers involved in Carers Worldwide projects are earning a regular wage that can support their families.

Each year supported by a range of donors, including CareTech Foundation, the National Lottery Community Fund and the Commonwealth Foundation, Carers Worldwide is growing its network of local charity partners – now 15 – and the number of carers it can support. But there are many more carers to reach.

“Our influence is like a drop of ink in a bucket of water,” Patil told us. “You don’t need a whole bottle of ink to change the colour. Just a little support to carers will make magic happen in front of your eyes.”

Companies wanting to get involved in this worthy cause as part of their corporate social responsibility can find out more about Carers Worldwide at:

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