What is Care?

A thought that emerged from the campaign 'What is care?'

A thought that emerged from the campaign ‘What is care?’


During the ‘What is care?’ campaign, from 7th to 11th March 2017, our volunteers – Mallika, Asterilla and Madhura from Fergusson College, Pune – posted one edited short video a day on the Facebook event page, with bytes from people they had interviewed, asking them, ‘What is care?’. Along with these interview bytes, we shared posters  highlighting thoughts and observations that emerged from these interviews.



August 2016 – six fresh faces at Fergusson College Pune, stared with some kindness and curiosity at me, as I waved my arms around wildly trying to explain our work and the reason for our work at Caregivers Link.


It isn’t easy. How do you explain caregiving, receiving care, being in a formal or informal care relationship – to anyone – and expect them to care? Unless they’ve walked in any of those shoes? We assume there has to be an age, an experience, some grey hair, for conversations such as these.

These young people, all under twenty, nodded their heads with the wisdom of all young people who watch the world closely and observe things that we do not think they observe. Then they began to talk. They talked about their experiences with cancer, with mental health issues, with dementia care, with aging grandparents, with hospital experiences, with children from disadvantaged backgrounds and others with disabilities. They said they would like to volunteer with Caregivers Link – simply because these issues are of interest to them and they want to learn more, do more, talk more about these things. That’s where it began. If you want to know more about their experiences in their own words, read  ‘Pune – Volunteers speak’ and read ‘Diwali 2016 – Care India Medical Society’.


Brainstorming - 'What is care?'

Brainstorming – ‘What is care?’


By December, three volunteers stayed with us. We had a meeting where they decided they wanted to expand the room for talking about care, to include an assortment of (what they call) random folks, people from home and family, from peer group circles.


Just for joy – here, from memory, is a little excerpt from our discussion…


“Let’s break it down”, said Asterilla, “Let’s find out what people understand by care and caregiving. Let’s ask people, ‘What is care?’ ”
I said, “Let’s go to an organization that works in a formal care setting. Let’s ask the staff this question.”
“No, that’s not what we mean,” said Mallika, “Let’s ask ordinary people, like our friends, like our families, what does care mean to them?”
“Oh,” said I, “and languages? Will everyone speak English? Or we let people speak in their own languages? Marathi? Kannada? Bengali?”


Mallika discusses care with an interviewee.

Mallika discusses care with an interviewee.

This team of three took it forward from here with a little help from Devashri of Caregivers Link. The volunteers interviewed about fifteen people. Amongst them, are also the Principal and staff of an inclusive school where children with disabilities and those without, study and play, and learn and do things together.



Interviews have been presented with English sub-titles, they were translated and translations were double checked, but we know that some viewers may still disagree with the translation done by us. We are happy to have your interpretation and understanding of what is being communicated. The films were edited by friends of our volunteers, who became extended volunteers, like an extended family. Saumitra did the first edit for us setting the pattern for the edits. Then he faced serious tech troubles and Sushrut took over to see the volunteers through to the final edit. Many people, including Aparna Mittal, Prabha Nagaraja, Midhila Muraleedharan, GV Nirmala, Ashwin D’Cunha, Daksha Bhat, A Gomes, J Monteiro, Aparna Bose, and S Kaushik helped us with identifying a variety of words across different languages used to explain a variety of concepts of care. Here’s a screen shot of the sort of WhatsApp conversation that would happen between us, driving us all crazy.


What you say and what you mean.

What you say and what you mean.

Language is such an important and such a complex business. The sub-titling itself was a bit difficult to execute, but we hope you will forgive the imperfections and find something of value in the endeavour.

These interviews raise themes for discussion and we  picked up some of these themes to highlight them with additional links to information and experiences each day.

What does care mean to you? Let’s talk. Let’s break it down.

(Shikha Aleya)

See this short a/v – Caregiving comes from care – a brief compilation of thoughts emerging from the campaign.

Watch the interview bytes we posted during this campaign at the links below:-

Ankur Vidyamandir (Inclusive school)
Ankur Vidyamandir (Inclusive school) (2)
Family (2)

Visit the event page on Facebook here. 

Also read – How this campaign began.


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