Nothing to smile about
In this business, you hear many sad stories. One of the saddest came when one exasperated mother told to us: "I have nothing to smile about in my life. I live in fear every day wondering what my daughter will do. I can't think about the future at all." Those were the heartbreaking words of Iram, mother of Asha, a ten-year-old girl with autism and learning difficulties that result in very challenging behaviour.
As innocent as Asha may seem, she takes great joy in destroying toys within minutes of receiving them. Her clothes only last a few days before they are in tatters. Iram had exhausted herself caring for her and worrying about what comes next. We began providing short break services to Asha at the weekends so that her parents could have a few hours' peace to recover and think about other aspects of their lives.
Suffering in silence
For Asha's birthday, we gave her some nice dresses and toys. Her mother found this small act overwhelming. It turned out these were the only presents she had on her birthday because Iram was suffering from severe depression and had been unable to buy any presents of her own.
"I have nothing to smile about in my life. I live in fear every day wondering what my daughter will do." - Iram, mother of 10-year-old Asha, who has autism
It is not unusual for people struggling to look after a family member with disabilities to suffer from depression themselves. Caregiving can be a thankless and stressful job. Our major concern was helping Asha's mother with her state of depression and trying to encourage her to engage with other parents.
Recipe for a smile
After working with Asha for a few months, we learned that her mother loves to bake. But she was unable to spend any time enjoying her hobby because there was hardly anything in her kitchen. We sourced some baking equipment and kitchen utensils from In Kind Direct. You can find out more about how The Oak Foundation works with the charity below.
Read more: Find out about our short break services
At the next parent support group meeting, Iram brought a cake she had baked for us. Now, she is always baking cakes for our staff and nursery children. Being able to do what she loves has helped ease Iram's depression and now she will regularly drop in for a chat. Asha attends our weekend and school holiday play schemes, giving her mother the time to whip up more tasty treats!
Now, she is always baking cakes for our staff and nursery children.
Now, Iram has started to smile again. It goes to show how a little support and encouragement can go a long way in changing people's lives. We'd like to thank In Kind Direct for helping us to put a smile back on her face.
Help us create more inspirational stories like Iram's
Without you, it wouldn't be possible for us to help families like Iram and Asha's. Pledge your support so we can continue our work.