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The Action Thread Part Two

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Yesterday we hosted the first of our Familly Support Days for children and families on our Community Care and Hospice Programme!¬†1f388.pngūüéą1f389.pngūüéČ

This programme helps treat and deliver therapeutic services to terminally and chronically ill children across Belarus. These special days gives the children and families the opportunity to meet each other, develop a support network, exchange ideas and enjoy some time out from their everyday lives.

CCI’s multi-disciplinary teams conduct home-based services specifically designed for each family and are assigned a palliative care team including therapists, a nurse, a psychologist and a social worker. The team makes home visits to supervise the child’s care, provides medication and supplies at no cost to the families and evaluates the social and emotional needs of all family members. The programme helps almost 50 families between Minsk and Gomel in Belarus.

To learn more about our Programmes, visit
www.chernobyl-international.com

La imagen puede contener: 6 personas, personas sonriendo

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CITIZENSHIP

Giant Balloons Are Bringing Internet Access to Rural Kenya

Google’s sister company Loon is behind the initiative.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
The internet isn't just selfies and Snapchat, it’s about education access, health care, training, business development, the sharing of new ideas, and spreading technologies that have the power to alleviate suffering the world over. That’s why initiatives like this are so important, and why universal, affordable internet access is part of the UN’s Global Goals. You can join us by taking action in support of the goals here . 

A network of enormous balloons will be bringing internet access to some of Kenya’s most inaccessible regions from as early as next year. 

Google‚Äôs sister company Loon ‚ÄĒ owned by Google parent company Alphabet Inc. ‚ÄĒ is behind the initiative, partnering with Telkom Kenya to deliver 4G coverage to the country‚Äôs rural areas.¬†

‚ÄúLoon‚Äôs mission is to connect people everywhere by inventing and integrating audacious technologies,‚Ä̬†said¬†Alastair Westgarth, the chief executive of Loon, marking its first commercial deal in Africa.¬†

Take action: Tell Leaders How Important Education in Emergencies Is

Take Action: Sign Petition

 
 
 
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United StatesUnited KingdomGermanyCanadaAustraliaAfghanistan√Öland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBruneiBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCabo VerdeCambodiaCameroonCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo (the Democratic Republic of the)Cook IslandsCosta RicaC√īte d'IvoireCroatiaCubaCura√ßaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands¬† [Malvinas]Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambia (The)GeorgiaGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and McDonald IslandsHoly See¬† [Vatican City State]HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIranIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKuwaitKyrgyzstanLaosLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedoniaMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia (the Federated States of)MoldoviaMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorth KoreaNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestine, State ofPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarR√©unionRomaniaRussiaRwandaSaint Barth√©lemySaint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth KoreaSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyriaTaiwanTajikistanTanzaniaThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaVietnamVirgin Islands (British)Virgin Islands (U.S.)Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe

 

 

The fleet of balloons ‚ÄĒ each¬†reportedly¬†about the size of a tennis court ‚ÄĒ will dangle antennae, and these will relay internet signals transmitted from the ground.¬†

Loon has assured that the fleet will be floating far out of range of air traffic, storms, and wildlife, at a height of around 20 kilometers (60,000 feet or 12.4 miles) above sea level. Each balloon can reportedly provide coverage to an area of about 5,000 square kilometers. 

US telecom operators first used the technology behind the balloons in the wake of a hurricane in Puerto Rico last year, according to Reuters , to provide internet to around 250,000 people. 

Read more: Women Worldwide Are Being Left Behind as Technology Advances

The balloons will be powered by a solar panel, made from polyethylene, and will be filled with helium. They’ll also designed to float above the country for months at a time without having to land. 

While Kenya’s major cities and towns already have internet, rural areas are much harder to reach. 

But having internet access could be life-changing for those reached by the balloons‚Äô connection. As of 2016,¬†more than 4 billion people¬†in the world ‚ÄĒ mostly in developing countries ‚ÄĒ didn‚Äôt have access to the internet.¬†

And yet, advantages of an internet connection include far more than social media (which also has a lot of advantages in itself, such as sharing new ideas and providing a platform for voicing and combatting injustice). The internet helps people access financial services, as well as health and education facilities; it provides a greater platform for the development of small businesses or startups; and helps people communicate with family and friends, among many other things.

Read more: Canada Will Soon Provide Low-Income Families With $10-Per-Month Internet

It also opens up a whole world of opportunity for apps to make people‚Äôs lives easier and safer ‚ÄĒ health workers¬†have been able to track¬†patients with Ebola to reduce the spread of the virus, for example. Nurses and health professionals¬†can be trained more easily¬†and more cheaply, and farmers aremore easily able¬†to manage their supply chains.¬†

In fact, universal, affordable internet access is part of the UN‚Äôs Sustainable Development Goals, and the ONE Campaign, and NGO,¬†has a wholecampaign dedicated¬†to ensuring everyone can access the internet ‚ÄĒ particularly women and girls.¬†

But the sheer size of Kenya’s rural areas has so far made internet access almost impossible, with fiber cables and mobile masts unable to cope with the large distances involved. 

Read more: New Tech Will Change the World, But Not Without Risks, UN Report Says

Experts have, however, raised some concerns about the balloon initiative leading to a monopoly on communications in rural areas that could leave people vulnerable to price hikes or changes in business strategy. 

‚ÄúOnce these networks are in place, and dependency has reached a critical level, users are at the mercy of changes in business strategy, pricing, terms and conditions, and so on,‚ÄĚ Ken Banks, an expert in African connectivity and head of social impact at Yoti, told the¬†BBC¬†.¬†

‚ÄúThis would perhaps be less of a problem if there‚Äôs more than one provider ‚ÄĒ you can simply switch networks ‚ÄĒ but if Loon and Telkom have monopolies in these areas, that could be a ticking time bomb.‚Ä̬†

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CITIZENSHIP

12 Photos of Celebration and Struggle From Around the World This Week

These powerful images capture everything from World Cup celebrations to devastating wildfires.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
These powerful images from around the world range from celebrations of the late Nelson Mandela, who dedicated his life to fighting for equality, to the impact of extreme weather events, worsened by climate change, on some of the world's most vulnerable populations. You can join us here to take action on these issues and more.

This week has been one of celebration in many places around the world.

Across South Africa and the globe, people honored the late Nelson Mandela, who would have turned 100 on July 18. In his highest-profile speech since leaving office in January 2017, Barack Obama remembered the legendary anti-apartheid leader and urged the crowd to follow in his footsteps and continue the fight for equality everywhere.

Take Action: Be the Generation to End Extreme Poverty

 

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United StatesUnited KingdomGermanyCanadaAustraliaAfghanistan√Öland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBruneiBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCabo VerdeCambodiaCameroonCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo (the Democratic Republic of the)Cook IslandsCosta RicaC√īte d'IvoireCroatiaCubaCura√ßaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands¬† [Malvinas]Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambia (The)GeorgiaGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and McDonald IslandsHoly See¬† [Vatican City State]HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIranIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKuwaitKyrgyzstanLaosLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedoniaMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia (the Federated States of)MoldoviaMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorth KoreaNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestine, State ofPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarR√©unionRomaniaRussiaRwandaSaint Barth√©lemySaint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth KoreaSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyriaTaiwanTajikistanTanzaniaThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaVietnamVirgin Islands (British)Virgin Islands (U.S.)Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe

 

 

 

France, too, had reason to celebrate this week after winning its first FIFA World Cup in 20 years. And in Thailand, people rejoiced for a very different reason, as the trapped young boys and their coach were returned to saftey after spending two weeks trapped by floods in a cave.

Yet, while scenes of joy were scene throughout much of the world this week, people in¬†both the Philippines and Bangladesh are struggling to stay safe and dry as the rainy season carries on. And¬†the ongoing conflict in Syria¬†‚ÄĒ now in its seventh year of civil war ‚ÄĒ continues to displace people from their homes.

These are this week's most powerful photos of celebration, struggle, and everyday life.


 

1. Mandela Day: Members of the Maharishi Institute Choir perform at the global Walk Together initiative event by Nelson Mandela's group The Elders to celebrate Nelson Mandela's 100th Anniversary at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on July 18. South Africa celebrated 100 years since Nelson Mandela's birth, which is marked annually around the world as Mandela Day, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation called for people to "take action and inspire change" in his name on the centenary year.

California-Wildfires-Summer-Heat.jpgImage: Noah Berger/AP

2. California Wildfires: A plane battling the Ferguson Fire passes the setting sun in unincorporated Mariposa County in California, near Yosemite National Park on July 15. As of this morning, the wildfire has burned 22,892 acres of Mariposa County and is only 7% contained. Rising average temperatures have led to forests in California drying out, increasing the risk of fires. There are more than 100 million dead trees in California alone, which creates a tinderbox for fires to spark and grow from. 

 

3. Syrian Conflict: Evacuated Syrian boys from the area of Fuaa and Kafraya in the Idlib province look out of a broken bus window as it passes the al-Eis crossing south of Aleppo during the evacuation of several thousand residents from the two pro-regime towns in northern Syria on July 19. 

World-Cup-Soccer-Around-The-World.jpgImage: Anupam Nath/AP

4. World Cup: Indian children at a school hostel watch on laptops the World Cup soccer final match between France and Croatia on the outskirts of Gauhati, India, on July 15. 

France-World-Cup-Soccer.jpgImage: Thibault Camus/AP

5.¬†France World Cup Victory:¬†The Arc de Triomphe is illuminated with the colors of the French national flag and by fireworks set off by French soccer fans celebrating France's World Cup victory over Croatia, in Paris, France, July 15. France won the final 4-2. The inscription in French reads: Proud to be blue. After the victory, Kylian Mbapp√©, a 19-year-old powerhouse who scored four goals this tournament, announced that he will donate all of his earnings from the tournament to kids with disabilities. The athlete, who was born in Paris, is the son of immigrants ‚Äď yet another reminder of how migration and diversity can make a country great.¬†

Obama-Mandela-100-Years-South-Africa.jpgImage: Themba Hadebe/AP

6. Nelson Mandela Centenary: Former US President Barack Obama delivers his speech at the 16th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 17. In his highest-profile speech since leaving office, Obama urged people around the world to respect human rights and other values under threat in an address marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela's birth.

 

7. Summer Weather: A child plays in the waterfall at Yards Park amid warm summer temperatures in Washington, DC, on July 19.

 

8. Rohingya Refugees: A Rohingya refugee girl makes her way as rain falls at Jamtoli refugee camp in Ukhia on July 20.

Thailand-Cave-Boys-Soccer.jpgImage: Chiang Rai Public Relations Department/AP

9. Thailand Cave Rescue: In this July 18 photo provided by Chiang Rai Public Relations Department, members of the rescued soccer team show their skills before a press conference regarding their experience being trapped in the cave in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand. One of the boys, Adun Sam-On, a 14-year-old top student and star athlete who speaks four languages, was able to take a leadership role inside of the cave by translating for British divers. Staff at his school say it is not the first time the boy has had to overcome significant challenges, having escaped ethnic conflict in Myanmar to live alone as a refugee without a home or family in Thailand. 

 

10. France Agriculture: An aerial view shows haystacks in a field in Saint-Philbert-sur-Risle, northern France, on July 19. 

 

11. Flooding in the Philippines: A woman looks out of her home at floodwaters as the Marikina river swelled after continuous rain caused by Tropical Storm Inday (Ampil) in Manila on July 20.

 

12. Protests in Peru: Demonstrators take part in a march against corruption in Lima on July 19. Outraged Peruvians marched on Thursday all over the country to protest against corruption, following the scandal of audios of judges negotiating sentences that already caused the resignation of the president of the Supreme Court and the Minister of Justice. 

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Daniele SelbyErica Sanchez

Por Daniele Selby  y Erica Sanchez

6 DE JULIO DE 2018

 

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MEDIO AMBIENTE

El Mar B√°ltico ahora tiene una zona muerta del tama√Īo de Irlanda

A pesar de 10 a√Īos de esfuerzos, los niveles de ox√≠geno en el B√°ltico son los peores en 1.500 a√Īos.

Por qué los Global Citizens deberían preocuparse
La actividad humana y el calentamiento global provocado por el hombre están amenazando la vida marina en el Mar Báltico, obstaculizando el progreso en el logro de los Objetivos Globales, incluida la protección de la vida bajo el agua y la lucha contra el cambio climático. Puedes unirte a nosotros aquí tomando medidas para ayudar a proteger nuestros océanos y combatir el cambio climático.

Los humanos literalmente est√°n matando el planeta.

 

Los cient√≠ficos¬†dicen que los niveles de ox√≠geno en el Mar B√°ltico son los m√°s bajos registrados en los √ļltimos 1.500 a√Īos y creen que estas "¬†zonas muertas¬†" encontradas, han sido causadas por los residuos agr√≠colas y urbanos.

 

A pesar de que los pa√≠ses de la costa b√°ltica han hecho los mejores esfuerzos para ayudar al mar a recuperarse en los √ļltimos 10 a√Īos, la "zona muerta" en el Mar B√°ltico ahora cubre un √°rea de alrededor de 70,000 kil√≥metros cuadrados, aproximadamente del tama√Īo de Irlanda,¬†seg√ļn inform√≥ The Guardian¬†.

 

El nitrógeno y el fósforo expulsado de las zonas agrícolas, los nutrientes químicos esenciales para las plantas, se abren camino en los cuerpos de agua donde causan un rápido crecimiento de algas. Las algas eventualmente mueren, se hunden y se descomponen. A medida que las algas se descomponen, consumen oxígeno en el agua, sofocando a otras criaturas marinas o incitándolas a huir del área, lo que genera "zonas muertas".

 

Los bajos niveles de oxígeno en el agua también afectan a las poblaciones de peces, y por lo tanto a los medios de subsistencia de los pescadores, y pueden promover, además, el crecimiento de bacterias tóxicas.

 

Esta no es la primera vez que los niveles de ox√≠geno en el B√°ltico han bajado.En su estudio¬†recientemente publicado, el equipo de investigaci√≥n finland√©s y alem√°n descubri√≥ que la vida marina en el mar B√°ltico ha ido desapareciendo en los √ļltimos 100 a√Īos, pero que el estr√©s actual sobre el mar¬†"no tiene precedentes"¬†.

La actividad agr√≠cola y las aguas residuales no son las √ļnicas formas en que los humanos est√°n da√Īando el mar. Los cient√≠ficos¬†le dijeron a The Guardianque el calentamiento global, en¬†gran medida impulsado por humanos¬†, "probablemente retrasa el proceso de recuperaci√≥n, porque el ox√≠geno se disuelve menos f√°cilmente en agua caliente".

 

In 2015, NASA captured this massive bloom in the Baltic Sea. Large blooms can cause a "dead zone" where other organisms can't live.

 
 

 

Aunque los gobiernos de la regi√≥n b√°ltica ya est√°n trabajando en un plan de recuperaci√≥n, Sami Jokinen y Tom Jilbert, coautores del estudio, dicen que los humanos tienen un papel que desempe√Īar en la curaci√≥n del mar.

 

"Una de las principales cosas que hacer en el futuro puede ser reducir la proporción de carne en la dieta", dijeron. "La agricultura ganadera genera una mayor pérdida de nutrientes por kilogramo de alimentos producidos" y esos nutrientes pueden llegar al agua donde alteran el ecosistema.

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BBC News
 

'I was a child carer - it made me who I am today'

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Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and her brother

From the age of 12, writer Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett helped look after her severely autistic brother. Like hundreds of thousands of other young carers, she took on major responsibilities early - but says it made her the person she is today.

Being a young carer makes you different from your friends. This is one of the first things that you learn. You visit their houses after school and notice how different their lives are from yours. Their houses seem tidy, quiet and peaceful.

Mine was the opposite.

My younger brother is severely autistic. He was diagnosed when he was four, but we knew there were issues before then.

Even as a baby, he wouldn't stay still when you tried to hold him - my mum, Anna, said he was like an octopus wriggling in her arms.

As a toddler, he was hyperactive. He tore through our house, leaving chaos in his wake. He would climb furniture and banisters, empty cereal packets and cartons of orange juice on the floor, scribble on the walls.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett's brother

He didn't sleep. He didn't talk. We knew our lives would be changed by his autism, but we didn't realise by how much.

I am six years older than my brother, and cared for him along with my mum until I left home in North Wales at 18 (my parents separated when I was 12).

It's been estimated that 700,000 children and young people across the UK, some as young as five years old, are caring for family members. But the true number is likely to be much higher, as many are hidden from view.

I know what an isolating and difficult experience it can be - growing up, I had no idea there were so many other children out there in similar positions, caring for ill and disabled relatives.

When you are a carer, it can be hard to relate to your friends, with their "normal" lives.

You have responsibilities. You have to grow up very quickly. You can't muck about and be so carefree.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and her brother

I certainly didn't misbehave - I felt that my mum, who did the lion's share of the caring, had enough to deal with, without me being naughty as well. My brother barely slept and she was exhausted most of the time from getting up more than four times a night. I would care for him while she snatched an hour of sleep and, as I got older, for much longer stretches so that she could go to work or spend the evening with her then partner.

I did have moments where I felt quite separate from my classmates, who were still having their dinner cooked for them when I was preparing meals from scratch. On the other hand, being able to cook stood me in good stead in the long run, as did many other skills and traits I learned from being a carer - responsibility, compassion, empathy, selflessness, multi-tasking, patience and generosity.

A sense of humour was a must, especially when it came to toilet trouble. Mum and I cleared up enough poo for a lifetime (this may be why, at 31, I am still not sure how I feel about having children).

It taught me basic plumbing - give me some string and a coat-hanger and I can fix a broken toilet - but also how to laugh when you're up the proverbial creek. You had to, because otherwise you would cry. Then again, we did lots of that too.

We had two floods and a fire, and endless weird and embarrassing moments. People loved my brother - he was a very cute child with a huge goofy smile and big blue eyes, but his behaviour was - how can I put it? - unpredictable.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett's brother

Sometimes when we were out and about he would take his clothes off and run around while we chased after him, waving his trousers desperately like a flag. He was always falling into lakes and rivers, or reaching into people's bags of chips and plucking them out.

He had no sense of fear so you had to be hyper-alert. He once ran into a field with a bull, which was terrifying. Thankfully we got him out in time.

He also had tantrums in public and people would stare and make comments. I always confronted them when this happened - being a young carer made me quite feisty. I had a keen sense of injustice from a young age and that has translated into my journalism, particularly when it comes to the hardship and discrimination that disabled people often face.

Schoolwork was difficult as sleep was disrupted, and the house was really noisy all the time.

I learned how to concentrate even if all around me was total chaos. I developed a love of reading and tore through several library books a week. In a way, being a carer is what made me a writer. When things were difficult, I needed a way to escape, and reading provided that, but it also made me interested in people.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and her brother

You learn so much about humanity when you are looking after someone vulnerable and you need empathy, a vital skill when it comes to creating your own characters.

Teachers didn't always understand. I'm not surprised that Carers Trust Wales have found that many children who are carers are not known to local authorities . Adults often don't think to ask, or when you try to explain why your homework is late, or indeed why you are, they will just say that you are making excuses. I'll never forget the horrible reaction of an after-school drama teacher who refused to accept that I had missed a rehearsal because I had to look after my brother.

Nevertheless, for every nasty person there were many more kind ones.

I had a couple of close friends who lived nearby - Hannah and Kate - who have always been there, and would keep me company when I was on my own with my brother at home because mum had to work or pick up a prescription. (Hannah is now a mental health nurse and says her experience looking after my brother helped inspire her to pursue that career.)

As I grew older, I opened up to more friends about my home situation. They were all really supportive, treating my situation as though it were no different from anyone else's. Sometimes people act as though they are uncomfortable around my brother because of his strange seeming mannerisms and noises, but they never did. They helped me realise that there is no such thing as a normal family.

My mum trusted me, and in many ways that worked out quite well - as long as I made sure my brother was OK, I could have people over and she could benefit from finally having a bit of a social life. Often friends would help put him to bed, and I remember being particularly touched to find my friend Sam reading him a bedtime story.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett's brother

Leaving home was hard. By that time, my brother was in a special school, staying overnight during the week and coming home at the weekends. Yet I still felt like I was abandoning my mum, who was finding it increasingly difficult to cope.

My brother had grown very big and strong and she couldn't control him any more. He had also developed epilepsy, which needed careful management and supervision, and his obsessive-compulsive disorder meant that taking him outside was more and more difficult. She became very isolated.

I missed them both terribly, because although things had been hard at times, we were a family.

I cried for two weeks, and I think the sadness and the exhaustion are with me even now.

Although I have a good job and a happy life, there are some days where I still feel very low.

When my brother was nearly 15, things became so difficult for my mum that he went into school full-time. He is now 25 and lives in a care home. He is very happy there - his carers are brilliant, and I see him as much as I can for walks on the beach and trips out for lunch.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and her brother

I am grateful for how lucky we are - not everyone receives such good government support. If the help hadn't been there, I might never have left home. I certainly wouldn't have gone to university or have established a career as a writer.

Whenever I meet young carers, I want to give them a hug and tell them that I know what they are going through.

They should be given more support - both practical and respite care. I certainly would have benefited from some counselling.

No child's education should suffer because they are looking after a family member, they should be encouraged by adults, and given the help they need.

Sometimes I am asked if I wish my brother had been "normal". It's a strange question, because it's essentially asking me if I wish he were a different person.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett's brother

Obviously, I wish that he did not have to suffer, which he does as a result of his epilepsy and anxiety. But I love my brother for who he is, and looking after him has been the defining experience of my life.

Caring has made me strong as well as sensitive. It has made me a kinder person and given me the motivation to fight for social justice. But most of all I feel lucky to have felt such profound, unconditional love for my little brother. That has been a gift.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett is the author of The Tyranny of Lost Things. Follow her on Twitter @rhiannonlucyc.

All photos supplied by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and family.

A selection of your comments:

I was a child carer for my severely autistic brother who is 18 months younger than myself. I never really thought that I was until I read this article but it really spoke to me (especially the random sprinting and the poo!). I love my brother and there is no question he made me a better person but he has had a huge impact on my family.

Jessica Sutcliffe, London

Wow. Wow. Wow. Rhiannon's words here could almost be my own - word for word. The big difference is that I was a boy and it was my sister and as a male you do not have the close emotional support Rhiannon received from her friends. My friends were great but not in any way could they understand how I had to care for my younger sister - in every way. We also grew up in a very closed family in a rural area which did not help. While I wish I had someone to help direct me then, I have done OK. I am now the guardian for my sister. As we live in a rural area she unfortunately now lives 3.5 to four hours by car from home but like Rhiannon with her brother, I am very, very grateful that she now receives the care she deserves and it allows my other sister and I to lead "normal" lives.

Anon

Reading Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett's story was unnerving because she was writing about my childhood. My brother is severely autistic, six years younger than me and my parents separated when I was nine years old. Before reading her story, I had not thought of myself as a "carer" though. I had thought of that title as being my mum's. I felt a responsibility towards my mum and felt terrible to be abandoning her (and him). My brother is now in full-time care, visiting my mum some weekends. We are very lucky in so many ways, but I wonder if people realise that it is not just the physical exercise of caring for your loved one, but the mental and emotional burden. Is he happy, is he safe? Are the staff at his home treating him well and being kind to him?

Rachel Cook, London

Caring from a young age absolutely shaped who I am now! It's difficult, but looking around I am constantly reminded how lucky I am, in many ways I'm stronger than my peers and it's helped me become successful. You can't resent an experience that builds you, helps you become who you are and be happy as you are. Good luck to anyone who is experiencing this now, it does get better, honestly, also you're not alone!

Cara Hunter, Bedworth

This reflection resonates so much with my own situation. I have a younger brother who has ASD and severe learning disability (SLD). I now work as a Behavioural Specialist with children who have SLD and severe challenging behaviour. I feel my experiences give me a greater understanding and sense of empathy with the families I work with. My experiences with my brother and the people I have met through him have very strongly influenced my life - and for the better!

Mandy Griffin, Antrim

I was a young carer for my mum who has bipolar disorder. Growing up was quick, I was cooking, washing, cleaning, ironing, managing medication and providing constant support emotional and practical from age eight. All whilst also my helping look after my younger brother of three years. Making sure he and I got to school, dressed appropriately and fed. School was a challenge, I'd often have done a shift before getting there, exhausted. Homework time was difficult, finding time for anything for me was impossible. My family were my saving grace - grannies, aunties, uncles, cousins. They helped out with mum and looked after us when mum was too unwell to be at home with us. We survived it. It made us a close family. Not only that, it's shaped my future for the better. I was lucky enough at the age of 16 to have been linked in with my local young carers organisation. It gave me the chance to be a young person, to meet other young carers to know I wasn't alone and to go places and do things I never got the chance to growing up.

Marc Howard, Motherwell

I have four beautiful daughters. My third daughter has Rett syndrome which is a severe, neurological condition effecting all aspects of her life. I was absolutely devastated when I found out that my daughters are classed as young carers. It terrifies me. I want them to have a normal life. I realise that their life won't be normal but I'm desperate for it to be happy. Although my daughters are still very young, I do think that already they show a lot more love and kindness and empathy than other children that age. Our journey as a family really scares me - all we have to face in the future dealing with the difficulties Rett syndrome brings. However, I want to protect all of my daughters as much as possible. I want them to be happy and feel loved, feel secure and cared for.

Eva Hodgson, Tynemouth

I think it is so incredibly important to raise awareness of young carers for it is often assumed that every young person has it easily. I was a young carer for many years growing up and if people (both in schools and elsewhere) had a broader understanding of what it may be like as a carer, I think that it would benefit both the carer and the wider community.

James, Gosport

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Download these inspiring Nelson Mandela Day wallpapers

July 19 2018 | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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It’s the centenary celebration of Nelson Mandela and to honour all the incredible ways he changed the world we’ve created a set of free downloadable backgrounds for your phone!

Over his lifetime, Mandela defended equality for all with courage and persistence, leading to the end of apartheid.

Since then, activists worldwide have turned to him for inspiration and followed in his footsteps to be part of the next great generation.

Have you been inspired by his timeless words of wisdom? Then wear your support on your screen with these Nelson Mandela Day phone wallpapers!

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GIVEAWAY: We’re celebrating 100 years of Nelson Mandela

17 July 2018 5:30PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO

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Every year on the 18th of July, we honour Nelson Mandela by highlighting his incredible life and legacy. This year is no exception and we’re going all out to celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday!

To make this centenary occasion extra special, we’ve partnered with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to create a limited edition t-shirt and we’re giving *100* of them away to YOU!

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Head on over to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to enter for your chance to win and if you’re not on social media, you can enter via Email! 

Limit one prize per person. Eligible participants must be at least 13 years of age or older and must answer how Nelson Mandela has inspired them and tag 3 friends in their comment on ONE’s competition post. The first contest window officially begins at midnight GMT on Tuesday, July 17, ending at 11:59 pm GMT on Monday July 23rd. By entering this contest, you are giving ONE permission to share your comment and/or response to ONE’s Facebook/Twitter/Instagram post on social media and on ONE.org. Winners will be selected at the sole and absolute discretion of ONE. Winners will be notified by direct message. You must respond to the message in order to receive the prize. Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash and are not transferable. No purchase or sale necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored by or associated with third parties such as Facebook, Inc. or Twitter, Inc. Sponsor information: The ONE Campaign, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20004

 

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