Meet Faridah, a young carer from Lambeth
Throughout 2021/22, young carers from Lambeth worked with Create’s professional artists in a variety of artforms, including photography, poetry, ceramics, dance and visual art.
The projects, which were delivered in partnership with Lambeth Carers Hub, enabled the young carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities, have fun, learn new skills, build relationships and express themselves.
We spoke to one of these young carers, Faridah (12), and her mother Honey, about their experiences. (They were also filmed for Grayson’s Art Club, which you can read about here.)
“Being creative for me means that I get to express my feelings and my emotions through art, since I find explaining it difficult.”Faridah (12), a Young carer
Honey – Faridah’s mother
“Naeemah, Faridah’s younger sister, was born prematurely. She stayed in hospital for eight-and-a-half months, and it changed everything. It took me away a lot from Faridah because I was at the hospital every day, sometimes for 12 hours a day. For Faridah, getting time with me would mean her coming to the hospital and being in the family waiting area or being by the bedside with the baby. That’s when I think I noticed a shift in her expression and communication. She became more closed off.
“Her sister is classed as vulnerable, so we had to do a lot of isolating during the pandemic, which meant that Faridah had to stay home and couldn’t go back into school when the lockdown was lifted. So it took a lot away from Faridah and her own personal time and personal space.
“Faridah is very selfless. She didn’t want to add any more pressure on me. And that’s a testament to how amazing Faridah is: she’s kind and loving and respectful. The older Naima’s getting, she’s becoming more dependent on Faridah, she wants to do everything her sister does. So the pressure has become a lot more on Faridah to help with her sister’s care.
“Joining this young carers group was amazing for Faridah because she was around other young people who had shared experiences, so it was easier for her to feel seen and heard. The Create projects started allowing her to come out of her shell: expressing herself through the arts, through photography, through songwriting. She’s anticipating the road to being 13, and she wrote a song called ‘The Road to 13’. Her experiences that she’s written into those songs, it’s very different to an everyday 12-year-old and their perspective on what being a teenager is going to look like because of all the responsibilities she’s had to adopt.
“We started noticing the transition when Faridah started the Create project – of her imagination expanding and being open to different types and forms of art.”Honey, Faridah’s mother
“Faridah wouldn’t talk about her feelings, she would paint it on a picture or draw. We started noticing the transition when she started the Create project – of her imagination expanding and being open to different types and forms of art, and exploring different things she can use to create something amazing, things you wouldn’t normally think of. I’m really, really proud of her.”
“Today me and my group of three made our own heroine called GirlBoss and we added loads of different decorations to her, like her outfit and her hair and her facial features. We were thinking of Michael Jackson mixed with the Suffragettes because GirlBoss is stylish and she’s good at dancing, and then her role in the world is to be another version of the Suffragettes.
“Being creative for me means that I get to express my feelings and my emotions through art, since I find explaining it difficult. I like making art with different objects and I like drawing with a pencil and I like different types of shading. Sometimes when I’m at home I’ll copy different designs of bedrooms from cartoons I watch, so I’ll pause it when it gets to the kid’s mum’s bedroom and I’ll copy it to see how well I can draw in 3D.
“I like drawing because I don’t feel like I need a certain amount of time to draw, I can just keep drawing for as long as I want.
“Through the Create projects I’ve done things like making mini-sculptures of different things, like making my own time machine. It’s made me feel like I can express myself better in art instead of just drawing random things, so now I can make more things out of the cardboard my grandma might have or any pieces of paper I find around the house, I can make something out of it.
“Being a young carer has made me more patient with my sister because I understand that if she does something wrong I can’t just get mad at her.”
Our projects with Lambeth Carers Hub are ongoing. To support this work, please use the donation form below – or click here to give monthly.