IFSW and national associations are involved in many different activities to support local people and promote social work. In December the IFSW website carried news about the first African Young Carer Forum. IFSW gave moral support to this event which was organised by the Kenyan National Association of Social Workers, the Commonwealth Organisation for Social Work and the England-based Children’s Society.
An article by Kenyan young carer, Ernest Mwangi and IFSW Global Agenda Coordinator, David N Jones, describing the event and looking forward to the next stages has just been published on the website of the Guardian newspaper.
“Young carers are ignored and dehumanised. I wish for the voice of the young carers to be heard.”
‘This comment from a young carer at the East African Young Carers Forum illustrates that young carers everywhere face the same the issues. In Africa, where the term young carer has not yet gained recognition, there are no established means of addressing these effects. The pressures of isolation, caring, not being understood, stigmatisation, physical and psychological health problems leave them feeling overwhelmed.’
The event gave young carers an opportunity to relax, have fun and enjoy time away from their caring responsibilities. However there was also time to talk about the pressures they face, seek help with their problems and send messages to politicians and the media.
‘The report from the event will also feed into the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development. Plans are already underway for a bigger, sub-Saharan event in 2014.
‘The review of the UN millennium development goals recognises the need for people facing disadvantage to have a louder voice. This project shows how young people and professionals can work together to ensure this voice is heard.
‘The young people’s reaction said it all:
“Never before have we been listened to. Thank you all for this event.”
“People from all over the world please help the young carer.”
“It has been a long time since I smiled but I came to the young carers festival and smiled.”‘
You can read the article here.