Round up – April to September 2016

One of the most promising activities we began developing early this year, focuses on self, self-care and identity, using and adapting Life Story work. What began as preliminary preparation focusing on process steps, do’s and don’t’s and guidelines for a pilot that was planned at SRCF, progressed to an exploration of this work with different groups. So in Pune, over the past few months, we took the Life Stories concept and have connected for discussions with the Memory Clinic at the Dinanath Mangeshkar Hospital and Research Centre, the Anjali Morris Foundation that works with children who have Learning Disabilities, EKansh Trust working with diverse groups, focusing on abilities, empowerment and inclusion, Rainbow Day Care Centre for older people, the Jagruti Dementia Care Centre and with CHILDLINE, running the 1098 helpline for children and providing multiple support and services at community and individual level, focusing on child rights and child protection.

We are learning as we go along, that there are limitations and challenges of various kinds that we must factor in – adapting Life Stories requires close brainstorming with practitioners who share their perspective on the needs and wants of the groups and individuals we would like to work with. For example, working with children requires the understanding and cooperation of parents and teachers, who are often stressed out by the weight of measurable, testable, achievements, all of which are primarily academic. The concept of working on the ‘self’ and ‘identity’ as means to achieve a stronger self concept, self-esteem and confidence is an intangible, not perceived to be a priority by a majority. As children grow up, they become young people, with or without a personal challenge to ability, at the threshold of a world that holds independence, jobs, lifestyle and opportunity. At this stage, the priorities are all directed externally and appear to be dependent on factors outside of the self.

 

naniWhen working at the level of communities, and schools, the logistics of time, energy, location and resources weigh heavily and it becomes necessary to look at short bursts of intervention where ever possible, and then look at the means of sustaining and letting these grow. Finally, older adults and their families deal with multiple, complex issues of aging, and finances and care services become a top priority.  So we are finding creative ways to address some of these situations, including orientation meetings, workshops and activities that reach out to an increasingly widening circle of people.

In Delhi, Janet and Juhi Jha met to discuss Juhi’s work with Project Motley, focusing on Trauma Informed approaches to human services. Link to the Project Motley Facebook page. The concept of being trauma informed, as different from healing trauma, and the special relevance to any individual or organization involved with care, inclusion and ability, has started us of thinking of possible collaborations ahead. Conversations are on with others working in care and caregiving. In Mumbai, Devashri met Amrita Patil-Pimpale (Dementia Care Consultant), who has started a Dementia Caregiver Support Group at the Memory Clinic of Holy Family Hospital, Bandra, along with her colleague, Priyanka Kartari (Clinical Psychologist). The experience sharing that emerges from facilitating such work ties in well with our own efforts at outreach through stories of self and identity.

sketches-featured-image-20160906_133710All of this has been hectic. We’ve received help! A volunteer team from Fergusson College in Pune has begun working with us as of August this year. Asterilla, Mallika, Akanksha, Gauri, Ananya and Madhura, have agreed to be part learners and part volunteer workers. So they are undergoing learning exercises online, in the classroom and through meetings and some of the field work planned. They are learning protocols, codes of conduct and even documentation and processing of their own experiences and activities. At the same time, they have begun work on social media, their first task being to focus on amplifying care concerns, care issues and care voices. They are looking at issues of language with us, since our communication has primarily been in English. They are working on adding Hindi and Marathi to our language and communication tools and skill sets. They are connecting us in our outreach efforts to organizations and institutions so that we can expand the care talk. The volunteers also blog, their perspective and their voices. Read about their thoughts and initial experiences here, Pune – Volunteers speak.

 

para-pic-fbThe Rio Paralympics started September 07th, to continue till September 18th. Social media took up the cause of lack of attention and respect in our own country, with no sports channel telecasting live in India. This disregard and disrespect of para-sports and para-athletes in our own country, despite the fact that a 19 member team is at Rio from India, is a reflection of deep rooted unsupportive attitudes to the diversity amongst human beings, human abilities and care issues. There is a care story of great complexity behind every athlete who has gone to Rio. We allocated daily wall space to the Paralympics on our Caregivers Link Facebook group, with the aim of adding to the voices raised against the invisibilising of their efforts and achievements in mainstream conversation. We shared articles such as this, off the field and about the support teams working backstage – ‘Service centre in athletes’ village carries out more than 2,000 wheelchair and prosthetic repairs during Rio 2016’. It’s a great article.

 

On the matter of financial resources, we find that our current best option has been the sponsorships we have received from friends and supporters. The generosity and trust of people has kept us going thus far. This issue is on the front burner, right next to the care issues we are looking to address. Meanwhile, our continuing gratitude and appreciation of the support we have received and are receiving.

VolunteersWork on building resources for people in care relationships continues as we intensify the effort to connect with more people, and connect more people to each other. Reading through the previous round up covering the period October 2015 to March 2016, I am happy to say we have moved forward most definitely on some fronts. We’ve had good experiences and learning experiences. We’re still here and we’re still moving. Write in to caregiverslink@gmail.com or sms connect with us at +91-9819842520 to set up a chat and discuss what we could do together.

 

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