Caring about carers
My name is Yasmeen and I’m from Glasgow. I am a politics student at the University and a carer.
My ambition is to create a group at UofG for students who are carers so that they can have space for themselves.
As a carer you constantly put other’s needs first and often don’t have time or resources to look after yourself.
I have a long-term vision for the project, which includes introducing it to countries which have less support for carers, such as those in Latin America, where the burden of care falls disproportionally on women in the family. This can interrupt and undermine the attempts of young women to attend school or college. This in turn has an adverse effect on the family's finances as social services are often not in place to support them. Introducing manageable self care to be incorporated into daily routines can make a huge difference, not only to one individual carer, but to the collective family of carers.
We might think that self care is only about diet and exercise, however it is much more than that. It includes emotional and mental wellbeing, which can be improved by taking time for yourself to balance carer duties with things you enjoy. Most carers experience stress, anxiety and isolation at some point and I want to create a group on campus where they don’t have to go through this alone. Support and social connection are key to student carers being able to participate fully in campus.
I want to achieve this by contacting individuals who have knowledge in this field. I am also creating a questionnaire about what student carers would like in terms of support and am encouraging them to take ownership of the group. Because self care is at the core of my approach I will be organising classes or sessions on Mindfulness, stress management and relaxation techniques.
Student carers often suffer from a lack of confidence and reluctance to put themselves forward for opportunities at university. This can result in them having narrower and lesser experiences of student life, which puts them at a disadvantage when applying for jobs and internships. For this reason, I wish to use the support of the experts from GU Careers Service and the Alumni Network to offer career related activities to build confidence.
Through networking and the “training the trainer” approach I hope to establish a group on a global level. This is a more long term ambition, which I have already started by attending conferences and courses to build contacts with international organisations and projects.
I am passionate about the necessity for a holistic approach to the challenges faced by all carers; as the old proverb says, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”.