Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Young Carers in New Zealand

Young Carers: Our Time, Our Place

The world of the young carer; youth aged up to 25 years providing substantial care for a family member with a disability or illness; is near invisible. This makes it an often lonely, isolated role. It is our time as young carers to unite together and share our experiences of providing significant care for family members with extra needs.

In 2013 I read an article in which I discovered I have been the young carer of my brother who has an intellectual disability since our mother’s passing in 2002. This opened my eyes to a world I thought only I experienced.

My brother and I goofing around!

The opportunity for me to connect with other young carers and the persons in their care has been amazing. The emancipation I have gained must be shared. I want to help other young carers to attain an identity that recognizes their significant, meaningful caring role, and which connects and unifies them throughout New Zealand.

As a result of my experience, I am now doing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), researching the lives of young carers and the persons in their care. The proposed outcome of my doctoral research is a breakthrough social venture: 'Our Time, Our Place'. It is an ongoing, supportive, social network for young carers, the aim of which is the development of a constructive, collaborative young carer identity in Aotearoa, New Zealand. It is a not-for-profit enterprise providing a non-judgmental space for young carers to feel accepted, appreciated, heard, and understood, while connecting young carers throughout New Zealand.

So, I am wondering: Are you, or were you, a young carer? Are you, or were you, in the care of a young carer? Do you know a young carer, or someone who was a young carer in the past? Do you know of any work being done / already done in this field? Do you know of any organisations that provide support for young carers and the person in their care? Especially those overseas organisations, which could really inform what happens in New Zealand. If so, please comment below. I would absolutely love to find out more about this hidden world of young carers and the people in their care! In particular, I would LOVE to hear from other young carers or those who have been young carers.

I really hope to hear from you!

Many kind regards always,

Lauren from Hobbit Land! :)

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